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Boro vs Preston
 

Boro vs Preston

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Martin Bellamy
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Firstly, apologies for posting this preview whilst there’s still life in the Bristol City one - time’s short between games when we play on a Tuesday and I’m taking the opportunity, whilst I have a minute, to make sure it’s up and running.

 

As most of you will know, I lived on the wet side of the Pennines for over 30 years, within a cloudburst’s distance of the city of Preston. When I say wet, I’m not exaggerating – with 153 days of rain per year, Preston is England’s rainiest City, having achieved city status in 2022 as part of the late Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Middlesbrough has around 96 days of rain, so it’s quite a contrast.

Preston North End were established before the Football League was set up and were then founder members in 1888. I’ll provide more on their history when I do the starter for the game in Preston.

For now, here are few facts about the City, starting with their equivalent of a Parmo – the Butter Pie. It’s basically a shortcrust pastry pie, filled with onions and potato and a shed load of butter, allegedly first made by Lancashire Catholics who eschewed meat on a Friday. I’m not a big fan - I’d rather have a Newbould’s Pork Pie, thank you very much.

Like much of Lancashire, Preston’s wealth was built on textiles  - Richard Arkwright developed the use of water to power cotton looms in Preston and mills sprung up all over the county. King Cotton was the equivalent of the Boro’s iron and steel industry and has largely disappeared in the 21st Century. The machinery in the mills was so noisy that the women working them developed their own language based on exaggerated mouth movements and sign language, called Mee Maw – there are still a few older ladies who can use it, but it’s gradually dying out in the area.

Talking of ladies, and on the subject of football and Preston, it’s worth mentioning the pioneers of the Women’s game, Dick, Kerr’s Ladies. Dick, Kerr & Co were Locomotive and Tram car manufacturers with premises in Preston in the late 1800s, but during the WW1 they employed hundreds of women to produce ammunition for the war effort. In 1917, they formed a women’s football team, which continued until 1965, and played in front of huge crowds, including 53,000 on Boxing Day, 1920, when they played St Helens Ladies at Goodison Park. The FA banned women from playing at their grounds on 5th December 1921, but the team continued to play at non-league grounds and even toured America in 1992. In all, they played 833 games during their existence, winning 759, drawing 46, and losing 28 (that’s some record!). They even beat Paris 4-0 with the great Bill Shankly refereeing in 1952.

That’s enough history, so on to Tuesday’s game and I’ve enlisted the help of a PNE supporting, former neighbour in Leyland to get his view of their prospects.

A Preston Perspective.

My name is Dave, I’m a Preston season ticket holder and have been a supporter of the original Invincibles since my Dad first took me on Deepdale at the tender age of 6! Little wonder then that some 50 odd years of watching PNE later, I’m bald as a Coot!

I’ve been asked to provide a few words about our forthcoming clash at the Riverside next week.

From a personal point of view I’ve never travelled to the Riverside to watch us play (crap fan I know!) but I have seen us play at Ayresome Park back in 1987, when I was lucky enough to see us victorious in the FA Cup 3rd round when we were in the old 4th Division and you were in the 3rd, if memory serves me correctly. It was a freezing January day and the game was won with a long range effort from Ronnie Hildersley. You battered us in the 2nd half but we held on for a victory.

Anyway, on to the upcoming fixture.

Our season so far:

In common with a lot of North End fans, if you’d have said we would be 5th in the table near to the end of November, I’d have snapped your hand off! We got off to an unbelievable start to the season results wise and topped the table earlier in the season, unbeaten in the first 8 games winning 6 of them.

Whilst the results were there the performances on the pitch weren’t as convincing. The next 3 games illustrated that perfectly as we lost them all scoring just 2 and conceding 10 against the current top two and West Brom.

We’ve steadied the ship a little since then and our last game saw us gain a cracking last minute win away at local rivals Blackburn.

The Team:

Keeper-wise we’re pretty steady with Freddie Woodman, who was last season’s player of the season.

We usually set up with 3 at the back and 2 wing backs. Brad Potts and Liam Millar currently occupy the wing back slots, Potts has a great engine and Millar is probably far better going forward running with the ball than he is with the defensive side of the role.

Centrally, it’s Liam Lindsay, flanked by two young lads in Storey and Best. Lindsay is a solid central defender when the ball’s coming on to him, but can have difficulty if turned!

Midfield shape can vary largely dependent on whether Ryan Lowe goes 2 up top or more than likely plays the lone striker. The likes of Alan Browne and summer signing Duane Holmes are having great seasons so far, with another new signing Dane, Mads Frokjaer-Jensen, looking to have been another shrewd addition.

Up top, it’s likely to be another summer signing, Montenegrin international Milutin Osmajic, who is settling in very nicely and getting better every game, supported by Will Keane.

From the bench our biggest influence is likely to be Chad Evans, who despite suffering a life changing condition last season that looked likely to be career ending, is back after successful surgery.

The Gaffer:

In Ryan Lowe we have the Championships 2nd longest serving manager, which is amazing seeing as he only joined us just under 2 years ago! When he arrived, he promised exciting, free flowing, attacking football. We’ve seen glimpses of that from time to time but not often enough. PNE fans’ opinions of him are quite divided, with some calling for his head at various points throughout his tenure. The team now is probably getting nearer to Ryan’s own team, especially given the boardroom backing he had during the summer. The return of key players like Emil Riis in the run up to Christmas and what happens in the January transfer window will be the key to how the rest of this season plays out.

The Opposition:

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve a quick look at the Boro squad and there aren’t too many names on that list that I’m overly familiar with – goalkeeper, Jamie Jones, had a short and completely forgettable spell with us and the only other name I recognise is Ray Van Den Berg and that’s because his brother Sepp had a highly successful loan spell from Liverpool a couple of years ago.

Expectations of the game:

Our record at your place isn’t that great over the years. We struggle to keep clean sheets, only 2 thus far this season, so I can see you scoring. Sometimes playing away suits our set up better as Lowe likes to press high and break quickly so I fancy us to score too. You will get the lions share of possession as that's been the pattern with our away games so far, it all depends on what you do with it.  My guess is a close scoreline with 2-1 win for Middlesborough.

That’s the lifelong North Ender in me, hope I’m wrong and we nick it!

Either way enjoy the game!

Dave

Many thanks to Dave for those words – I’m quite happy to agree with his predicted scoreline, although I’m expecting OFB’s foam hands to be out and pointing to Boro3.

Dave wrote the words for me before Saturday’s games - I’m pretty sure he may feel a bit more confident of the likelihood of a win on Tuesday now.

I had intended to do a bit more for this match preview, but we’re currently in our Static Van in Shropshire awaiting the call from a daughter in Swindon, who’s baby is due any day, so apologies for the brevity this time. I had a thought that I’d try to get to Tuesday’s game too, but the withering look from Mrs B disabused me of that plan, as she’ll be needed on Granny duty when the new baby arrives. On this occasion, I’m happy to defer to her common sense and grandparently instincts!   Hopefully, I’ll be able to buy a pass from MFC  to stream the game on my phone whilst we’re here.

So, over to my fellow Diasborans - is it a glass half-empty, doom laden expectation after Saturday’s defeat, or foam handed optimism that bounces the Boro straight back into the mix? Answers on a postcard please…

 

 


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Thanks Martin, great opener.


   
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Martin

Your timing was perfect and it’s dispelled the doom and gloom. Well done for posting an opposing fans view very adventurous and gives us a great heads up for the game.

Hope the family stay fine as we always say football is only a game !

Many thanks

OFB


   
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Pedro de Espana
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Well done Martin in producing the Headliner under pressure. Let’s see if the Boro can handle the pressure on Tuesday night, when anything other than a win, will be needed to calm the fans on the terraces. 


jarkko
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@Martin Bellamy Well done and perfect timing. We had the whole of Sunday to forget the result at Ashton Gate.

I have been to Preston for a night in hotel as Boro were supposed to play Blackburn a few years back. But as you might have guessed, the match was postponed due to RAIN. We drove from Manchester Airport to Blackburn in vain and had a very quiet afternoon and the night at a hotel near Preston. Some roads were flooded and there was not much to do because of rain and it was Xmas time too.

Luckily we were able to see some football as we continued on to Boro for the rest of the week. But I did not know there is such a big difference rain wise between the two places.

A great opener. I hope all goes well with your soon-to-be-born grand child. I envy you as I have three children - all in their 30's - but none grand children yet. Enjoy your wait!

Where did Preston sell the goal scorer we also tried to sign last summer to? Up the Boro!

 

This post was modified 5 months ago by jarkko

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Thanks Martin - a good read.


   
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Let me join the thanks for your Opener, Martin. I realise with a game on Saturday, doing an Opener for a game on Tuesday doesn't give the poor wordsmith much time. And I agree with OFB that football is only a game. This must be an exciting time for your and your family and so, quite rightly,  Boro v PNE might seem small beer in comparison. I hope all goes well on the baby front.

What will the result be against PNE? Shall we toss a coin?

What we CAN say is that Boro's concession of goals is NOT the result of a few isolated and unfortunate incidents.  It is, with the gallant exception of the outing against a previously rampant Leicester City, the norm. I pray in aid: the recent statistics.  In the last month Boro's results have been:

28.10.23      Boro           0-2    Stoke C.

31.10.23     Exeter C      2-3    Boro (League Cup)

04.11.23     Plymouth A  3-3    Boro

11.11.23     Boro            1-0    Leicester C

25.11.23     Bristol C      3-2    Boro

What that tells us is that Boro has found itself facing a "City" team in 4 out of its last 5 games and, in reality, that should be 5 out of 5 since Plymouth was granted City Status in 1928 but who in England, with such an exotic surname as "Argyle", would want to be known as a mere City? It also tells us that Boro, that one aberration against Leicester aside, conceded a total of 10 goals in the other 4 games (2.5 per game).

If you concede so many goals that you must aim to score 3 to get anything from the game, it shows that Boro's defence might best be described as porous. Keeping the goalie dry would be an exception to the rule.  Let's hope that changes tomorrow. I will refrain from a prediction here as my Bristol 1-3 Boro was blown out of the sky far too easily. I will wear Hope rather than Expectation to the stadium.

  PS.  Please thank your friend, Dave, for his comments.  It is always good to hear "from the other side" as we football supporters always tend to look at life from a one-eyed stance (and we tend to wear notoriously rosy pink lenses in our spectacles).

 

This post was modified 5 months ago 3 times by Forever Dormo

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Thanks Martin, I thoroughly enjoyed reading that post and particularly the different perspective that your PNE supporting friend put on it, different and thought provoking.

I'm still smarting from Saturday's result but this fixture congestion will continue to disrupt momentum and heap the pressure on players and physios to keep the team fit. I'd hate to try to predict how this game will end so as always just don't lose Boro and this coming from someone who, when he saw that we'd fought back to 2-2 couldn't believe it when we conceded again. Oh yes, can we please stop giving the opposition yards of room for 'worldie' shooting practice? Just how many of those have Boro conceded this season?

Best wishes with the imminent addition to the family Martin.

UTB,

John


jarkko
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@forever-dormo Yes, the comment from a PNE fan was excellent. So a big thank you to Dave. As Dormo said, we should hear from the regular fans of opposition more. Up the Boro!


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Martin thank you for an excellent opener, I like others, enjoyed the perspective from a PNE fan. I watched a few matches over the weekend and like Boro, a few teams seemed to be off with their passing and movement, as though the two week break had disjointed teams somewhat. Hopefully we can get back on track during the next week or so with 3 top six matches on the bounce, PNE, Leeds and Ipswich. I expect a minutes applause before kickoff on Tuesday night to honour the late Terry Venables.

Come on BORO.


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Posted by: @jarkko

Where did Preston sell the goal scorer we also tried to sign last summer to?

Jarkko, if you mean Emil Riis Jakobsen, he's still at Preston:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_North_End_F.C.

 


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@jarkko We had tickets for that Blackburn game too, preceded by lunch in a pub in the town. It was an interesting drive to get to the pub because of the flooding - good job I had a Landrover at the time.


   
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jarkko
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@stircrazy Thanks for clarifying, I meant him. I was sure he was sold. Was he injured, too? Up the Boro!


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Many thanks for another interesting take on an opener Martin - get an opposing fan to write politely about what to expect, quite brilliant. Do pass my/our thanks onto Dave.

 

Also, on this occasion I think there is no doubt that Mrs. B is quite right with her priorities. Fingers crossed that all goes well for your daughter and we can all look forward to hearing your important news any time soon.

 

PNE at home was one of the games I got down to England for last season. One of the best performances I have had the pleasure of witnessing in all of my years following Boro. I have to be honest though and confess that I am not at all confident of a repeat this time round. That said, while the Bristol result is a big disappointment, the Robins were at home for the first time under their new manager and so perhaps we should not e surprised we didn't get a result (notwithstanding the valid observations that we are shooting ourself in the foot too often defensively).

 

I am in the play Dijksteel at right back camp and move VDB into the centre. Perhaps it might be a time to play 5 at the back - with Dijksteel and Engel given licence to get forward whenever they can. I agree that Latte Lath has still to convince me. Is it OFB that had commented he might be better suited playing alongside Coburn. Coburn certainly is a better bet for receiving and holding up with the ball and that could be the making of Latte who should benefit from the opportunities Coburn will create. That only leaves three slots in my midfield which I would give out to Jones, Hackney and Barlasser. For me Barlasser has the edge on Howson for creating forward play, Howson the edge on Barlasser for shielding the defence, but if we are playing VDB, Fry and McNair as three central defenders, we have less need of a Howson type.

 

All of that said, MC doesn't often go for change, so I am expecting little change from Saturday, perhaps with Josh Coburn starting instead of ELL and (depending on Jonny's legs) maybe Barlasser in place of Howson. I also suspect the team will be fairly well self motivated to get Saturday out the system at the first time of asking. SO, Boro to edge a close fought contest by the odd goal in three - 2-1 Boro it is.

 

CoB

 

This post was modified 5 months ago by Powmill-Naemore

Martin Bellamy
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I sent a link to the Blog to Dave - here are his thoughts:

“Cheers, just had a read! Thank them for their thank yous much appreciated! Anyway, enough of the niceties I hope we stuff you tomorrow!🤣😜🤣”


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A thoroughly enjoyable and informative read thank you Martin; the opposition fans perspective was a master stroke and Dave’s riposte following the “thank yous” was brilliant and made me chuckle.

Best wishes to your Daughter and hopefully the new arrival will be a Boro fan and not Swindon in the fullness of time.

As for tomorrow, who knows what will turn up.  Regrettably I did say that the BC game was a potential banana skin that a “typical Boro” side would slip up on and so it proved much down to our own ineptitude.

We need at least 6 points from the next three games so tomorrow is a must win to restore a degree of belief that we can make top six but that will only happen if the defensive side of our game is sorted.

Bangura in for Engel and Coburn for Latte Lath, the rest unchanged. 

I would like a 2-0 win but any win will do.  Can’t contemplate back to back defeats so it may end up a draw.  😎


Selwynoz
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@Martin Bellamy

great opener. Lots for us all to get our teeth into. 

it looks as if we have lost another defender with Engel not available tonight. I wonder if the style of football is contributing to the increased number of injuries or is the increase in medical science somehow responsible. I’ve often joked that you only find out that you’re ill when you go to the doctor. Otherwise you just carry on.

Thinking seriously, I feel that a degree of rotation is needed in the selection. Otherwise we could lose more players between now and Christmas. I’d definitely be tempted to give Jones a rest but that’s more in hope that he rediscovers his ability to cross and pass to a Boro teammate. Dijksteel must be worth a go and maybe even Latte Lath on the right hand side for a game when we should have a lot of possession. I’d like to see him play with Coburn.

UTB


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@martin-bellamy 

Dave, thanks for that and I reciprocate. I, like everyone on here hope we stuff you. So that's a draw!

UTB,

John


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Thanks for a very informative intro about our opponents tonight. I am concerned that if we don’t sort our defence out then I can see no more than 2 points from our next three matches. Sorry for the pessimism OFB’s foam hands don’t reach this far.


   
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 gt
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Don't know if it's been mentioned but apparently we are twenty fourth ,when it comes to the first half scores,

Time that was sorted,

I didn't think we needed more than one or two in January, but it's becoming clearer the inconsistencies within the team, have changed the big picture, and some players can't change so it means an aggressive January and july


   
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@martin-bellamy - Dave says it as a football supporter should do! (I hope we stuff THEM this evening, for what that's worth).


   
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Another cracking opener. Games are coming thick and fast now. 

Some rumours doing the rounds that we have some additional injuries or illnesses and that we'll be having a bunch of kids on the bench. Luckily, we've long since binned the fax machine.

It does start to look like we need to examine why we're getting so many injuries. Bad luck and coincidence only go so far as an explanation.

On paper we have the following players missing.

Smith - Lenihan - (Clarke?) - Engel

O'Brien

Forss - McGree

That's more than half of our likely 1st 11 out. (Clarke may be on the bench but I'm not sure he's actually fit to play.) 

 


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @exmil

https://footballleagueworld.co.uk/middlesbrough-plot-january-move-for-16-goal-international-striker/

Come on BORO.

I would be very wary. He has not really been tried in anything near like a top league.

 

 


   
Liked by 4 people: Selwynoz, Malcolm, Original Fat Bob and K P in Spain
 
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@exmil -  Thanks for the link. I am not jumping up and down with anticipation, but what do I know...?


   
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Many thanks Martin for a really good and interesting opener and ably supported by Dave - btw I may be wrong but I seem to recall that Les Dawson used something like Mee Maw in his female character act?

Anyway, hopefully there'll be no need for exaggerated mouth movements when watching Boro defend this evening and Michael Carrick gets the team fired up and playing with intensity from the off.

Unfortunately, I'll probably miss the first 20 minutes or so of the first half but I agree with KP and Selwynoz's suggested changes - Coburn and Bangura plus Dijksteel for me and I'd even start Barlaser ahead of Howson.

Boro really need to win this one with a trip to Leeds up next followed by the visit of Ipswich!


   
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Oh I’ve lost my foam hands 🙌! 

I don’t know what I’ve done with them and I’m pretty distraught as they fitted me like a glove 🧤 

I need to find them soon as the Boro players are dropping like flies and half our first team are out injured.

it will be interesting to see if MC plays Jones tonight as he’s walking a tightrope regarding yellow cards and suspension and would be needed for the away game on Saturday against Leeds to stiffen the full back position.

It’s about time Dijksteel made an appearance tonight and hopefully Josh is fit enough to start as Latte seems to have lost his froth and could be giving grounds for being dropped. Perhaps Latte plays better in the cup?

Greenwood was very hit and miss on Saturday and he probably needs the home crowd to encourage him. He’s another player not available on Saturday as he is not allowed to play against his home club.

Howson looks very leggy amd probably needs a rest and Dan Ballsacher will probably step into the role tonight against H2. I did notice that perhaps H2 didn’t track back very much on Saturday and this put an extra burden on our defence. Perhaps he expended too much energy playing for England trying to impress the watching Premiership scouts who were watching him.

So keep it tight at the back, don’t allow any players to have a shot at making worldlies at goal and I’ll go for…..

wait for it 

Boro 1 the rest 0 

As I’ve already said I’ve lost my foam hands 🙌!

OFB


   
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Is the game on Sky sports red button tonight ?

OFB


   
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Martin Bellamy
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@original-fat-bob I’ve paid my £10 to stream it from the MFC BoroLive site. I’ll watch on my iPad.


   
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Sky Sports Arena !


   
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