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Blackburn v Boro
 

Blackburn v Boro

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Andy R
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After another late, late show at home against Reading on Saturday, Boro head to Ewood Park on Monday 24th January to take on Blackburn Rovers in a 7.45pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports.

There was a hushed optimism around The Riverside that Chris Wilder’s Boro were starting to look like a genuine promotion threat following some excellent December displays. Performances since have dipped a touch but late winners against Blackpool and Mansfield and a final ten-minute comeback from the dead against Reading has turned up the volume on Boro’s belief.

This time it was number 25 Matt Crooks who broke opposition hearts. The last Boro no. 25 I can recall, and certainly the last to bring such joy to the terraces, was Juninho. Crooks and “The Little Fella” could hardly be more different in stature but both are whole-hearted players and terrific value for money. Kieran Scott is rightly getting a lot of praise for his joined-up recruitment work but we can thank Neil Warnock for this one.

Sure enough, those last three dramatic victories have all been matches Boro were expected to win and you can argue that they’ve made hard work of it, but it’s been a joy to watch by the final whistle. This is truly as good as it has been at Boro since the Karanka era and for my money, more unexpected and better to watch.

If complacency has been a factor of late, Boro should have no such worries against in-form Blackburn. Over the past six games, Blackburn and Boro are the two form teams, both taking sixteen points from a possible eighteen. Indeed, both clubs’ sparkling runs stretch back further than that with Blackburn unbeaten in ten ahead of Wednesday’s game against Hull, whilst Boro are unbeaten in seven Championship outings.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that these runs have come against poor opposition either. Since a humbling 0-7 defeat against Fulham, Blackburn have beaten Sheffield Utd, Stoke and Bournemouth with a draw against Huddersfield, whilst Boro beat the Terriers as well as Swansea, Bournemouth and Forest. By Championship standards, this is now a mouth-watering clash.

One of Boro’s key tasks will be keeping the prolific Ben Brereton Diaz quiet. The reborn Chilean International has 20 goals to his name this season, drawing the attention of Premier League suitors with Brighton rumoured to be keen. Sadly for us, there appears to be little chance of him leaving before Monday.

Boro fans will be delighted to see Tony Mowbray doing such a wonderful job at Rovers. A Boro legend for his playing exploits and much respected for the assembly of the backbone of the squad that Aitor Karanka ultimately took to the Premier League, Mogga is one of football’s good guys and someone we’re proud to call one of our own.

No helping hands are required on Monday though and Boro will hopefully be sparked back to their best by facing such difficult opponents. In the main, Boro have competed well against the best this term with a host of draws and only one defeat against the sides currently in the top six. That came against QPR at home in a game we really should have won.

We last played Blackburn back in August: a 1-1 draw with both sides reduced to ten men in the late stages. At that point, it’s fair to say that neither club expected to be meeting again with both in the top six and looking up. They say there’s always one club that comes from nowhere but we seem to have two this time around and who’s to say that this will be our last match against them this season?

Following the arrival of four new faces at the time of writing, Chris Wilder may have a rare selection headache for this crunch game. Aaron Connolly was the only debutant at the weekend and, perhaps unsurprisingly, showed promise and rustiness in equal measure. There was no sign of new midfield duo Caolan Boyd-Munce and Riley McGree but Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun provided an enticing cameo from the bench featuring some clever movement and sharp passing in the final third. Boyd-Munce is perhaps “one for the future” and this game may come too soon for McGree but up front the options finally seem to be there for the Boro manager and it will be interesting to see who he prefers and how he handles them.

An exciting match ahead then between two red-hot sides. Will the Rovers return or could Boro burst their bubble?


Pedro de Espana
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Thank you Andy for the new Headliner and the early addition. Next Monday seems an eternity away.

Yes Blackburn are the form team and there on merit and also down to having a Forward that scores goals with regularity, something Boro could do with. However if Diaz was playing for Boro, I doubt he would have scored as many.

Going back to my recent post, does anybody have any idea where McGree will play “if picked to start”


Andy R
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Topic starter  

Thanks Pedro.

Re McGree, as a left-footed central midfielder, the options appear to be Howson or Tav’s spot.

I think we’ll be waiting a little while to see him start but expect him to make the bench on Monday.


Original Fat Bob
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Thanks Andy for that great opener it’s much appreciated by all of us Diasborian.

Hooefully another week (and more!) of training together will produce a well oiled machine desperate to show that their recent results are not a fluke and that we are genuine playoff or top two contenders! 

From what I’ve seen of the cameo appearance on Saturday Balogan has to start he looks really sharp up front.

Thanks again 

OFB


Redcar Red
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Thanks Andy for that great opener it’s much appreciated by all of us Diasborian.

Hooefully another week (and more!) of training together will produce a well oiled machine desperate to show that their recent results are not a fluke and that we are genuine playoff or top two contenders! 

From what I’ve seen of the cameo appearance on Saturday Balogan has to start he looks really sharp up front.

Thanks again 

OFB

To me Balogun looks like he will win free kicks and attract unwanted attention and like as not resulting in cards for the opposition. With Jones tormenting on the right it adds a little more balance to our attacking threat. I'm looking forward to seeing him given a few more minutes. I'm wondering if McGree will take Tav's role with Tav being used as a LWB. To me Tav has the energy levels and the tackling ability to play that role and I think could be a revelation.

His shooting is poor and his set pieces are inconsistent at best being kind. To his credit he is full of energy and his determination and drive are his positives. He gets back and puts in often sublime tackles yet manages to get up the pitch to join in attacks. That energy I think would be better utilised as a LWB which to me is where his skill sets sit more naturally.


Andy R
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Topic starter  

I agree with that RR.

I’d really like to see Tav have an extended run at LWB and settle into the position. His natural abilities look well suited to that role.


Pedro de Espana
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RR, something I have mentioned previously. He is so hit and miss, however he probably has the best energy levels after Jones, with a never say die attitude.

If he was half as good as Jones at LWB he would be a revelation. 


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jarkko
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Posted by: @andy-r

Thanks Pedro.

Re McGree, as a left-footed central midfielder, the options appear to be Howson or Tav’s spot.

I think we’ll be waiting a little while to see him start but expect him to make the bench on Monday.

I think Wilder said that McGree can also play at left wing-back. And of course left midfield or as a defending midfielder as Andy said.. UTB!

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by jarkko

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jarkko
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@andy Thank you for the excellent start for the blog with the Blackburn lead.

Their Ben Brereton Diaz has been selected for the Chile squad for two crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Martin Lasarte's side take on Argentina and Bolivia in a double-header, with the first of the two games taking place next week.

As a result of international duty, Ben will miss Rovers' home clash with Middlesbrough on Monday 24th January and the away match against Luton Town on Saturday 29th January.

i think Brereton Diaz has scored 20 goals for Blackburn this season. Tony Mowbray must be gutted for him missing the match against Boro on Monday. It is when the two form teams will meet at Ewood Park.

Up the Boro!

 

This post was modified 4 months ago by jarkko

jarkko
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I must be getting bored with the covid restrictions. All sports indoors are banned in here, no bars open and I cannot travel to meet customers. 

Sorry if I am boring you with my writings. I can really understand Ken with his time passing problems.

Luckily I have my family. I visited my daughter three times last week. OK, I did some painting for her but the last visit was for socialising only.

Haven't been playing footy for nearly two months now as we have snow. And the indoors training is restricted. I usually play two to three times a week with my club and friends in the local indoors hall.

Luckily Boro are playing, though.  Up the Boro!

This post was modified 4 months ago by jarkko

Original Fat Bob
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Jarkko

You can always talk to us and we’ll listen !

 

OFB


Pedro de Espana
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Going back to Folarin Balogun and where he may be used. 

I am not so sure we would get to best out of him under our system if he plays out wide on the left. He has the pace and ability to beat his man, however, as a natural right footed player, he would probably have to cut inside to achieve this on a regular basis. This would having him taking the space of the two front men.

I believe the majority of his goals, which is why we have brought him in I guess, have come from playing in the middle.

As an aside, I have been told Man U are charging 46 pounds for the Boro Cup Tie. Villa apparently only got charged 30?? I think it will be hard to sell the 9400 tickets we have taken at that price, KO time and on the TV.


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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @pedro

...

As an aside, I have been told Man U are charging 46 pounds for the Boro Cup Tie. Villa apparently only got charged 30?? I think it will be hard to sell the 9400 tickets we have taken at that price, KO time and on the TV.

The poor dears. We should make sure we do sell out our allocation. After all isn't one of the great things about the FA Cup is the money generated by the little clubs  that get to  enjoy a full house as they get to entertain the true giants of the game, so you can't blame poor hard up ManU for capitalising on the pulling power of the true mighty reds.


Original Fat Bob
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exmil
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Hull 2 Blackburn 0 FT

Come on BORO.


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Original Fat Bob
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Let’s go for it second position homogeneous grabs !

OFB


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Original Fat Bob
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Nice article on Crooks thought I’d share 

https://medium.com/@danamalt2013/matt-crooks-is-everything-middlesbrough-needed-and-more-dafff500f11

OFB


Liked by 4 people: Ken Smith, K P in Spain, lenmasterman and Malcolm
 
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Ken Smith
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Writing about Covid booster jabs, I have received a notification from the NHS that I will require another Covid booster jab eight weeks after my last one and then a third booster jab 3 months after the second one so that takes me up to the middle of May all because I have prostate cancer. Apparently I can walk into any Covid centre without making an appointment through my GP surgery. I wonder if any other Diasborians have been given this advice. 

Also I’ve been advised to double my intake of iron tablets because my latest blood test shows that I’m anaemic which of course makes me constipated due to a torturous colon. However I’m not passing blood through my urine or my bowels when I’m not constipated, so the scare of bowel cancer seems to have been averted.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m being treated as a human guinea pig and at my age should ignore all this scaremongering, as maybe ignorance is bliss.


Ken Smith
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Posted by: @exmil

Hull 2 Blackburn 0 FT

Come on BORO.

No schadenfreude from me, prefer lippen schweigen until after Monday.


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jarkko
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Posted by: @exmil

Hull 2 Blackburn 0 FT

Come on BORO.

That could make them a dangerous opponent. They will want to show their supporters that they are still a good side. Anyway, they conceded two (2) goals in a match. In their previous ten matches, only one goal was conceded.

Interesting match coming up. A 0-0 draw, anyone? Up the Boro! 


Ken Smith
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Nice article on Crooks thought I’d share 

https://medium.com/@danamalt2013/matt-crooks-is-everything-middlesbrough-needed-and-more-dafff500f11

After reading all of Dana Malt’s blogs they remind me how I was as a teenager some 65+ years ago except for two reasons. First, very few of the fairer sex were remotely interested in football at all, and second, the only outlet for Boro fans to give their printed views were in Cliff Mitchell’s weekly columns in the Saturday’s Sports Gazette, and they were were very sparse. However talking to one’s mates in those days was grumbling when Boro lost and saying “never again, that’s me finished with them” but after a long discussion concluding with the words “same again then in two weeks time?” with the riposte “you bet, now’t else to do”. It was like a drug. However the few times that I watched from the Holgate end there was a blind young lady there and her male companion (brother, boyfriend or husband?) giving her a running commentary of what was happening on the field of play; does anybody remember that couple?

Of course when Boro were on an unbeaten run which for some reason always often happened after 9 matches, the incredulity that Boro had actually lost and we suddenly wondered when Boro would ever win again. Very few Boro supporters travelled to away matches then except maybe to Roker Park, St James Park or FA Cup ties which was the only time one saw red and white rosettes and scarves on sale by street vendors near Ayresome Park. It was rare to obtain autographs of players either, except at cricket grounds when they played cricket against a NYSD eleven at Redcar. It was a different world in those days, save for the fact that expectations were always high at the beginning of each season but had usually dissipated by Christmas as of course there were no playoffs to look forward to.

But some things never change, and that was to always expect the unexpected from Boro. If Boro lose at Blackburn on Monday when will they win again? It won’t take us long to find out. However this Boro side seem to be made of more sterner stuff than most in the past, although it’s a 50% chance of a top 6 finish for me, but in my humble opinion automatic promotion is off the agenda just yet.


Original Fat Bob
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Dael Fry interview

https://www.mfc.co.uk/news/watch-dael-fry-pre-match-media-blackburn

OFB


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Original Fat Bob
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https://twitter.com/rovers/status/1484142414327697411?s=21

Tony Mowbray on defeat and penalty claim

OFB


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Forever Dormo
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Ken - although the odds look against us at present - not because of our current level of performance and results but because of the gap between Boro and automatic promotion and the fact the games are starting to run out - I'd like to reassess the situation after the Blackburn and Fulham games.  If we managed 4 points, or even (dreamland!) 6 points from those games, that would be a REAL statement to the Championship footballing world, and I would then rule nothing out as being beyond Boro. 

But whatever happens the glass looks definitely more than half full at present.  It's like the difference between (1) seeing a flat, stale pint of keg beer left on the table, and (2) seeing a freshly pulled well-kept pint with a lovely head, waiting to say "hello!" to the lips.


Andy R
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At this point I'm with Ken on our automatic promotion chances. There's a lot of games to play and we can still finish anywhere really but as the season has progressed it now has the feel of 2014/15 when we made the play-off final, before gaining automatic promotion the season after.

Of course, the chance is there for us to get to the top two (and who of us would turn that down?) but I won't be disheartened if it doesn't happen. When Wilder arrived I posted that I would be happy to finish this season with that feeling that we were on the cusp of making a real push. That feeling has come early but I'll still be satisfied to go into next season as one of the favourites with good reason to be so. Right now, rightly or wrongly, I feel that if we don't get promoted this season, we probably will next season regardless of the sides relegated from the Premier League. It's a good feeling.


Original Fat Bob
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Over 6,000 Sold Out Of 9,000+ Allocation For The Man Utd FA Cup Tie. Amazing Support Boro Fans #UTB

OFB


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Original Fat Bob
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Posted by: @forever-dormo

Ken - although the odds look against us at present - not because of our current level of performance and results but because of the gap between Boro and automatic promotion and the fact the games are starting to run out - I'd like to reassess the situation after the Blackburn and Fulham games.  If we managed 4 points, or even (dreamland!) 6 points from those games, that would be a REAL statement to the Championship footballing world, and I would then rule nothing out as being beyond Boro. 

But whatever happens the glass looks definitely more than half full at present.  It's like the difference between (1) seeing a flat, stale pint of keg beer left on the table, and (2) seeing a freshly pulled well-kept pint with a lovely head, waiting to say "hello!" to the lips.

I’ll drink to that 

OFB


Andy R
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I've posted this theory a few times in the past but I've always thought of Tony Mowbray as a streaky manager. When his sides are on a roll, they maintain it for long spells. Equally though, when on a bad run, it endures longer than most.

We saw it West Brom, we saw it Boro. His time at Hibs was short enough to be almost all good run and similarly at Celtic, short enough to be all bad run (by their standards). At Coverntry he kept them up on a crest of a wave but resigned after a long losing run. It seems to happen time and again - sensational form followed by rotten form rather than the more frequent up-down inconsistency of many an EFL club.

I guess, from a Boro point of view, I'm hoping that Blackburn's result against Hull last night was the end of their long good run. If it was, don't be surprised to see them drop away.


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exmil
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Steve Gibson open letter to Derby administrators:

https://www.mfc.co.uk/news/an-open-letter-from-steve-gibson-to-the-joint-administrators-of-derby-county-fc

Come on BORO.


Ken Smith
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But the same could be said about Boro. The thing is I feel that Fulham are almost untouchable, 19 goals in the last 3 matches, never ever achieved by Boro even in the George Camsell season of 1926/27, although Jack Charlton’s promotion team did go undefeated for 24 matches. Yes Fulham do sometimes lose unexpectedly as do Bournemouth and so will Boro as acknowledged by Chris Wilder. After Boro have played Fulham, there will be only 6 games remaining for Boro and one of those is at Bournemouth. That may well be the time to look at League tables but before then Boro have tricky home games against Coventry, Derby (yes Derby), West Brom and Luton and may still be as many points or more behind Bournemouth as we are at the moment. We also have a far inferior goal difference against all the sides above us as well. Never look too far ahead, take one match at a time, and see where we are come Easter would be my advice. It’s all about accumulating points at the moment whilst enjoying the football.

 

 

 


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