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Huddersfield v Boro (EFL Cup)

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Clive Hurren
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Huddersfield v Boro, Carabao Cup round 1

On Tuesday, Boro make the relatively short trip to Huddersfield to resume battle with old nemesis and once favourite manager, Neil Warnock. This game has an unusually early kick-off of 7.00 pm. I don’t know why. It’s the EFL Cup, of course, a competition Boro fans hold dear to our hearts. We’ll be backed by a huge, sold-out following.

Huddersfield have had a few seasons of ups and downs, and some difficult management upheavals, including very recently at board level, when they were taken over by Kevin M Nagle, American owner of USL Championship side, Sacramento Republic (no, me neither.) Good luck with that one, lads.

Relegated from the Premiership in 2019, they so nearly made it back up in 2021-22 under Carlos Corberán, losing agonisingly via an own-goal in the play-off final to Nottingham Forest. Everything looked set for another tilt at promotion, but Corberán resigned just 22 days before the start of last season, with Danny Schofield replacing him. He was then sacked  in September  following a run of 1 win in their opening 8 league games to be replaced by Hertha BSC assistant coach Mark Fotheringham. He was in turn sacked in February, following a poor run of form and with Town in 22nd position and staring relegation in the face. In apparent desperation, they persuaded Neil Warnock who had managed the club 30 years previously, to come out of retirement. You know the story, the same Warnock who had announced his umpteenth retirement from the game when Boro dismissed him.

NW had 17 games in which to save The Terriers. Immediately, he injected his usual mercurial mix of bravado, brashness, pragmatism and backs-to-the wall bloody-mindedness that have become his trademarks. He made them hard to beat, of course, but he also gave them belief, and recorded 7 wins, including the notable scalps of Boro, Watford and 2nd placed Sheffield United. There were 4 draws, including against promotion challengers Norwich, Blackburn and Sunderland. It was enough to secure Town a barely believable 18th place.

No doubt Town fans will be overjoyed that NW decided to stay on for another season. No doubt Sharon told him to stop moping around the house and get back to football; no doubt he tried to persuade her that Huddersfield’s charms are every bit as enticing as Cornwall’s. Personally, I would be surprised if he gets them higher than half way up the league this year, but you write him off at your peril!

‘Not Neil Warnock again!’ was my horrified reaction when Boro drew Huddersfield in the Carabao. The wily old fox has long been a jinx for Boro, even though he says he loves the club, just as we love him! How many times over the years have we had to admit, ‘You know when you’ve been Warnocked!?’ Too many! Both sides will want to win after disappointing losses on Saturday, Town losing 3-1 at Plymouth, so I expect both will now be looking at this one to get their seasons up and running and build confidence. They might also conceivably see this as key preparation for the more important league game between the two sides next week, sniffing each other out, so to speak.

We’ll probably be able to tell how badly they want it from the actual line-ups. Normally, they might see this as an opportunity to blood some youngsters in a competitive game - though as half our first team squad currently are youngsters, Carrick doesn’t really have that luxury. It will be interesting to see if he gives any of Chuba, Howson and Coburn some game time. This seems like the perfect opportunity to get some time in their legs as they’ve all missed pre-season. He might also offer run-outs to the likes of Glover, Van den Berg (hopefully), Gilbert and Isaiah Jones, I’m not sure I’d risk McNair in this one, as our only available right back, but MC would need to be confident in either Bilongo or Agyemang stepping up.

Last week Huddersfield’s own local reporter said, ‘Town have so far signed just two players. Chris Maxwell has joined to add more experience and competition in the goalkeeping department while right-back Tom Edwards has arrived on a season-long loan from Stoke City. Defensively Town have a solid base with Lee Nicholls in goal and experienced centre-backs in Tom Lees, Michal Helik and Matty Pearson but the big question is where are the goals going to come from on a regular basis?‘ Town scored just 45 league goals last season and conceded 62. Three players, Jordan Rhodes (still only 33!), Danny Ward and defender, Matty Pearson, all top-scored with 5. No great shakes up front, then, you might think. But, presumably fuelled by Uncle Neil’s home-made cider and his barbecue, they scored 22 goals in three pre-season friendlies against  non-league Cornish sides. They still had enough energy left to beat Stockport 4-0, and then beat Herrenveen 1-0, so altogether a stronger set of results than ours, though against weaker quality opposition by and large. So, be on your mettle, Boro.

This is a cup game, of course, with a different context to last season’s 4-2 defeat. We all remember what happened at half-time in that game. Boro had just gone ahead through Marcus Forss and were odds on to go on and win, given the respective form and league positions of the 2 sides at the time. NW later said he’d worked out that Boro thought they had it won and might get complacent. And lo, within a minute or two of the restart, Town were level, and rampant, with no Boro player bothering to tackle  Terriers’ full-back, Josh Ruffels as he slalomed through to score. Composure well and truly ruffled. Town found time and space to hit three more before a Chuba consolation goal gave us hope. No chance. I imagine MC won’t let the lads forget that.

So, what I’m not expecting from either side is any level of complacency, whichever squads they use. Warnock will undoubtedly have given his squad the usual Churchillian pep-talk.  I certainly don’t expect Boro to limp to a soggy defeat, not after last year. In fact, since Carrick took over I can’t really recall any games where Boro ‘failed to show up’ - that’s another strong feature of his leadership - the side never gives up and always appears fully committed. Ironically, one of the few games where we really did underperform was away at Huddersfield!

Me, I want to win this one, firstly because I always want us to do well in the cups, secondly, to get the season started and finally, for revenge on Neil! Certainly the massed ranks of sold-out Boro fans will want us to win and will no doubt provide terrific support as ever. Do I think we can win? Certainly. Why not? I think it might be decided by 1 goal, though I could also see it going to penalties after 90 minutes.

Whichever side Boro field, MC will need to be mindful of last season’s tame loss to Barnsley in the EFL Cup, albeit under Wilder, just one of too many in recent times. We haven’t gone past the 2nd round now since 2018, losing in that time to Barnsley (twice), Blackpool and even at home to Crewe, on penalties. And in 2018 we reached a quarter-final, only to blow a huge opportunity of a further Wembley appearance by losing 1-0 at home to Burton Albion. Even now, I can still see Aiden Flint scoop his header over the bar from one yard out…….. Aaaarrrggghhhh. It’s time to improve this dismal Cup record, please, Mr Carrick.

Over to you for your thoughts, playmates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This topic was modified 10 months ago by Clive Hurren

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Philip of Huddersfield
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I’m sure both teams will play much changed teams compared to today and so the team which can gel together will have the best chance of winning.

I am not in favour of teams making say 6, 7 or 8 changes.

I’d like to see MC  make minimal changes with the objective of players getting used to each other in a competitive environment and to secure a win. 
Winning games can become a habit - just as losing games has the opposite effect.

No idea which team will win. I’m just hoping Boro can create a few chances and score a goal or two. 
Obviously , in the last League game against Huddersfield Neil Warnock “ did a job on Boro” with a dramatic turnaround in the second half including specifically picking out McNair’s weakness with long balls in the air in his direction .

So Tuesday will be an interesting challenge for MC to improve on today’s performance.

Philip of Huddersfield 👍


Selwynoz
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@ Clive Hurren

Great intro. You've certainly set the bar high. After yesterday's performance - sputtering to say the least -  I think that MC has to use this game to test out some possible forward combinations for the league. We looked better when Silvera came on and my guess is that he'll feature from the start with Akpom playing half a a game or half an hour dependent on exactly where he is. I was quite impressed by Rogers and I'd like to see him and Akpom together. 

UTB


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Clive 

A brilliant opener for this game well researched and though provoking I enjoyed it immensely.

OFB


Powmill-Naemore
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Great opening opening piece for you Clive and without any disrespect to Andy R and OFB, it was really good to hear someone else's metaphorical voice starting us off.

Two things needed from this fixture for me. First is a win: not on penalties, but a genuine win. Second is to get the preferred first choices more game time to play together the way MC wants to see it.

How MC will handle the contradiction of these will be interesting. To win we need to score goals., but Howson and Apkom who both could make  adifferencec are not fully match fit.

I was just going to go on to say whovI thought might or should start. Then I realised, I really have no idea how MC will shuffle the deck or not.

So I will sit back and look forward to seeing the team sheet and how the starting XI will respond after Saturday.

 

 


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Congratulations, Clive, on a brilliant piece: comprehensive and immaculately researched whist retaining your own distinctive voice. I thoroughly enjoyed it, learned a lot from it and was gratified to see that your recent battle with Covid had not left you with any brain fog.  There was enough meat there to keep the Gazette reporter going for a fortnight.

And whilst I'm on, thanks too to Selwyn for his first-class analysis of yesterday's game.

This post was modified 10 months ago by lenmasterman

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Thank you Clive for an excellent and most enjoyable opener;  no brain fog in that masterpiece which I hope a certain EG reporter takes note of.

We not only need a win but we need a performance to build confidence otherwise the season might never take off.

It will be a difficult balancing act for MC as to what side he puts out.  For me it needs only a few tweaks, including more game time for Howson and Chuba.

I am slightly frustrated that there is still a degree of square pegging and to my mind Forss should be at CF with Rogers in the 10 role.  Silvera/Jones should be given a run on the right.  

I can’t see this being a high scoring game and just hope we can shade it and we don’t get Warnocked yet again! 😎


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Brilliant, Clive. Many thanks for your comprehensive opener which I enjoyed as much as I appreciated. 


Pedro de Espana
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Pleased to see you getting past COVID Clive,  with that excellent Headliner.

We certainly need a team out going for a win. We need these extra games to integrate the bench / fringe players.

As I have posted, the back four overall, especially the full backs look suspect. Wll MC replace the latter with any of the squad players? 

I thought Rogers looked useful, maybe better in the number 10 role. At 9, as KP suggested, Forss. At least he will try and have a shot. That would then free up space for Jones on the right. He needs to find his form of 18 months ago, or he needs to be sold preferably.

We do need a win though, and a performance even better.


   
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A brilliant opener from Clive to help wash away the disappointment of yesterday's match.

Like others on here, I think it would be a mistake to play the "reserves" in the cup. It's, in my opinion, unfair on the reserves because part of what improves a team is the experience of playing together but if you just stick 11 reserves and kids together they we all look stupid.

Also, right now, we desperately need to get some wind in our sails. For that reason, against Huddersfield, I would go with largely the team that ended the match against Millwall. I wouldn't risk Howson, Chuba or Coburn from the start because I suspect their fitness isn't up to it yet, but I would put them on the bench.

The main question is whether McGree at Left back is an experiment to persist with. A full-back who plays in midfield seems to be all the rage these days so I would give it some more time.

Dieng

McNair - van den Berg - Lenihan - McGree

Barlaser/Payero - Hackney

Jones - Rogers - Silvera

Forss

 

I think Fry perhaps struggles to play two games in quick succession so this is a good time for RVDB. Barlaser needs a run of matches to try and step up but perhaps Payero gets a chance to show what he can do. I know it's normal for the reserve keeper to get a game but I don't think that will help build the understanding we need. Finally, Jones needs a chance to show that he can recapture his best form.

 

 


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Short corners ?

why ?

two of these short corners resulted in Boro having to pass back to the keeper what was the advantage in that?

OFB


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@original-fat-bob 

We were rubbish at corners and free kicks last season.


Pedro de Espana
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@original-fat-bob. I can understand short corners or a variation of, as their CB's are giants.

However something like the Millwall corner. Taken short and then driven across the box. Caused a panic.

But too often,  we have a free kick or corner and it ends up with our goalkeeper. 


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Great headliner Clive full of info and style - plus hope your Covid is not too bad. 

I’d completely missed that Neil Warnock had renounced his latest retirement announcement to continue as Terriers boss - that should add another dimension to the game and probably favor them.

 I’d agree that this is not the time to rest players unnecessarily as Boro’s passing game needs minutes on the pitch to hone and develop a cutting edge. Maybe more pace down the flanks needs to be injected and the defensive unit left to consolidate.

While it would be nice to win, the Caraboa Cup has become something of an early round training competition before the big guns take over in the latter rounds to notch a piece of fig leaf silverware to spare some respected managers blushes - though it’s always nice to play one of the top teams and try to engineer a shock but the odds of making the final are in the asteroid hitting earth while holding the winning lottery ticket territory!

My aspirations for this game are about Boro scoring goals first and then hopefully sneaking it to get the season up and running - I can’t offer any views on team selection as have yet to see any of the new players in the digital flesh.


jarkko
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@original-fat-bob In modern football, when the gifted players can play a quick counter ball, short corners are coming more and more common.

The main reason is that on mathematical statics show that the defending teams scores MORE OFTEN than the attacking team. So most teams like Barcelona at its height, played the corners short.

So I am not surpriced that Carrick prefers short corners and holdind possession.  Up the Boro!


jarkko
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@ Clive Hurren 

Thank you very much for an excellent opener. If this is what you write when in bed with covid, I wonder what you will wrine next 😉. But a big thank you, for your great efforts.

I likr Cup football like Clive wrote, too. I still dream we would win a Cup again - preferably the FA Cup. But any Cup will do. As the Toon army and Mackems will dream of.

But after being able to watch all League matches live on Boro>Live on mfc.co.uk for years, I am fissapointed the the cup matches are not shown at mfc.co.uk. I do not know why, but hope this will chace one day.

I hope Currick will play the best team available with maximum two or three changes from Saturday. It is early season, players are fress and we need to get the team performing.

And we need to get in to the second round, too. I forecast a 2-2 draw with us winning on penalties. We are due to win over Warnock next. Up the Boro! 


   
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Clive,

A super write-up. I got to the end convinced we'd finally win this one then remembered the dreaded 'Warnock factor'.

The Boro forwards need to be sure they're wearing their accurate shooting boots and the defence need to be like a pack of Jack Russells, all convinced they're twice as big, hard as nails and never give up. I know Huddersfield are called the "Terriers' but they haven't got exclusive rights on all of them. So snap and snarl Boro and win. Please.

ATB,

UTB,

John

 


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Clive, thank you for an excellent opener and best wishes for a full recovery. I have slightly different view of what team MC should put out, I understand the thought process of using the same team to gel together but we have a difficult away fixture at Coventry on Saturday, so I wouldn’t risk many main players on Tuesday night. The point is when do you give some of the fringe players chance to show what they are capable of, a league match would be a bigger risk. I have been impressed in the friendlies by Van Den Berg, Gilbert, Silvera, I would certainly give Payero a start, if Coburn is fit I would give him a start with Rogers behind him, also give Jones a start. Therefore my starting eleven would be:

Glover

Van Den Berg Fry Lenihan Coulson

Howson (if fit for 60+ minutes) Hackney

Jones Payero/Gilbert/Silvera (2 of the 3)

Coburn (if fit enough) or Rogers 

Come on BORO.

This post was modified 10 months ago 2 times by exmil

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A great piece Clive and I will await a non covid piece with baited breath!

Despite being my nearest ground, due to other issues, I am unable to go which is somewhat frustrating but such is life.

I think MC así between a rock and a hard place team selection wise - would like to play a strong a team as possible to get them to gell (desperately needed after Saturday) but not wanting to risk players ahead of the next game and also give others a run out.

A good cup run can give momentum and confidence even though it is so early in the season but can also add the downside of more games.

The fact that it is against a Wornock team probably means that we will be defeated regardless but who knows?


   
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Selwynoz
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Posted by: @exmil

Clive, thank you for an excellent opener and best wishes for a full recovery. I have slightly different view of what team MC should put out, I understand the thought process of using the same team to gel together but we have a difficult away fixture at Coventry on Saturday, so I wouldn’t risk many main players on Tuesday night. The point is when do you give some of the fringe players chance to show what they are capable of, a league match would be a bigger risk. I have been impressed in the friendlies by Van Den Berg, Gilbert, Silvera, I would certainly give Payero a start, if Coburn is fit I would give him a start with Rogers behind him, also give Jones a start. Therefore my starting eleven would be:

Glover

Van Den Berg Fry Lenihan Coulson

Howson (if fit for 60+ minutes) Hackney

Jones Payero/Gilbert/Silvera (2 of the 3)

Coburn (if fit enough) or Rogers 

Come on BORO.

I think that we need to try two things from the start as planning for Coventry. 1. Van Den Berg at right back 2. Forss at centre forward. These could be direct improvements on the Millwall game and important for Coventry. Then MC can play around with the three behind Forss. I’d start with Rogers at number 10 and look to give Akpom 20 minutes. There’s also Gilbert who can play in there. The left and right of the three comes down to experimentation but Silvera should start. 

utb

 

This post was modified 10 months ago by Selwynoz

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@selwynoz.  Van Den Berg played at right back when Smith was injured in pre season and by all accounts looked very uncomfortable.  

If he does play in that position I am sure that a wily old opposition manager will be aware of this and will look to capitalise; that being said, PM played at right back last season at Huddersfield and was targeted by NW’s team successfully.  

Not an easy decision to make but I would tend to go with a settled back four despite PM’s fatal error on Saturday.  CoB 😎


   
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@k-p-in-spain 

Agreed about PM. He may have made the error that led to the goal but several other players also made errors that led to goal scoring opportunities. Luckily for them they largely fell to Kevin Nisbet. PM's error was the one that got punished with the one and only piece of quality finishing in the whole game. 


   
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jarkko
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@k-p-in-spain McNair playes well as a defender - he is very good with the ball when we go forward and also in dead-ball situations like free kicks and corners. A very good ball-playing defender.

But he often has a moment of madness like the tacle that created the only goal of the match on Saturday. He occationally comes late for a tackle and sells himself short. I hope I used the correct English words in there.

But you know what I mean. He does not always think like a defender. One cannot let the striker free if he misses the ball or player after a tackle. Fry or any natural defender would not commit himself so easily.

I love McNair as a defender thought. He is perfect defender when we have the ball and especially so with CarrickBall.

Up the Boro!

This post was modified 10 months ago 3 times by jarkko

   
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@jarkko.  I like PM as a defender when he is not defending! 😂😎


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

@jarkko.  I like PM as a defender when he is not defending! 😂😎

🤣 

 


   
Liked by 4 people: Original Fat Bob, Malcolm, Boro Beckys Dad and jarkko
 
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@jarkko 

Mcnair has not been good  at free kicks for at least 2 years. Most them reach for the sky 😉 


   
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I like McNair in a back three but nowhere else tbh. Needs must though, as has been the case for about three seasons somehow.


   
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Tonight’s team.

Come on BORO.


   
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Posted by: @exmil

Tonight’s team.

Come on BORO.

so a back 4 of McNair VDB, Lehihan, Coulson 

Jones Hackney Barsalar Payero, Silvera 

Rogers

 

A decent mix I guess 

 

 


   
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Boro a goal down after four minutes, the Terriers a man down after 13!


   
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