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Blackburn. V Boro
 

Blackburn. V Boro

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Original Fat Bob
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Blackburn v Boro

Thursday 29/12/22

K.O 19:45 Hours

Ewood Park Stadium

 

After an enjoyable Boxing Day afternoon at the Riverside Stadium where Boro easily dealt a knockout blow to Wigan and had them on the ropes for much of the match, we move on to our next opponents Blackburn.

 

This game should, on paper, prove to be undoubtedly a more difficult proposition. Boro, who now find themselves moving up to 10th position with 33 points from 24 games, play opponents who may be punching above their weight and are in a lofty  3rd position with 39 points. They have also played 24 games. The gloves are off as a tight 6 points separate the third to tenth positions in a league in which a medal winning position is achievable for any team capable of putting a winning run together.

 

Boro, have gone from being a middleweight team who were on the ropes with no hope of achieving anything this season a few weeks ago, to what I think now is to easily attain a playoff position.  Those foam boxing glove hands I received for Xmas are wonderful and have given me renewed optimism.

 

What is interesting when looking at the form table rather than the league table over the last 8 games, is that Blackburn are in 11th place with 12 points and Boro are in 4th place with 16 points, hopefully we will take all three which are at stake on Thursday. We will spar with our opponents and deliver a knockout blow to them in the 93rd minute!

 

Whilst all the striker accolades were rightly accorded to the Championship’s leading goal scorer “Akpom “ it was nice to see that Forss added his third of the season against Wigan.

 

Muniz however who was thought to be a great loan signing as a striker for Boro has struggled for game time since Carrick's arrival and that has led to speculation he could be recalled by parent club Fulham during the January transfer window. He didn't even make the bench against Wigan on Boxing Day, along with Anfernee Dijksteel.

 

Asked about their omissions, Carrick said: Quote“Anfernee has a bang on his knee so he might be out for a number of weeks unfortunately. Just going back to options in the squad, we just want to keep the team fresh and the bench as fresh as we can and to try and get everyone involved because they’re important.” Unquote

 

Turning to our midfield,  Alex Mowatt, the on loan West Brom midfielder hasn't had too much game time since Carrick's arrival, but a Baggies recall option isn't as likely given he's already played for them this season, meaning they would be unable to loan him out elsewhere in the second half of the season.

Carrick has been keen to stress the importance of his Boro squad in recent weeks while his team selection remained consistent, and that was evident again as Mowatt got an extended 45 minutes of action against the Latics after a head injury forced Howson off at half time.

 

Carrick also said at his recent post match press conference about our injured captain,

Quote “He’s just been assessed so I haven’t got an update on that. At this stage, I’m not too sure. He got a nasty bang to the head towards the end of the first half so it was just a precaution. Hopefully he’ll be alright, but we’ll have to wait and see.

(MC went on to say)

"I'm delighted for Alex [Mowatt] though, coming on at half-time. He hasn’t had a lot of football since I’ve been in and it’s not always easy to fit straight in, but I thought he fitted straight in and he and Hayden were terrific second half.” Unquote

 

Jones performances seem to be stuttering as he considers to flatter to deceive looking for frequent fouls (not awarded by the officials). I’m still of the opinion that his head has been turned by his agent (or others) promising a big money move to the Premiership. We shall see what happens next week when the transfer window returns.

 

Watmore provided the drive and urgency and showed his hunger for goals. I doubt that he will start against Blackburn,  as it’s a case of too many minutes, too soon. I would suggest that McGree will prove a more than adequate substitute.

 

I took a close look at Hayden’s contribution during the game and it’s obvious that his performances have gone from strength to strength. He is always making productive passes forward and is linking up well with Ryan Giles.

 

Giles has proven to be a superb crosser of the ball and if his defensive frailties can be negated by the Boro trainers he will be an outstanding Premiership player.

 

Whilst our keeper didn’t make any howlers during the game he and the defence still conceded against a poor team.

 

As reported in the Lancashire Telegraph, Blackburn have some injury problems for the game ahead. Tyrhys Dolan has been ruled out of all their Xmas matches – and could be out for up to a month – having picked up a groin injury. Dolan sustained the issue in the closing stages of the Carabao Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest having come off the bench.

His injury meant that Jon Dahl Tomasson couldn’t stick with the same team from the win at Norwich City as Rovers returned to league action on Boxing Day.

Dolan, a scorer in the win at Norwich, didn’t feature at the Stadium of Light where Rovers went down 2-1 with Ellis Simms scoring an injury time winner for the hosts.

 

The injury will also see Dolan miss at least Thursday’s game with Boro, the New Year’s Day visit of Cardiff City and the FA Cup tie at Norwich City, with Rovers then having back-to-back away trips at Rotherham United and Bristol City on January 14 and January 21 respectively.

A further blow on the eve of the game for Tomasson saw Sam Szmodics limp out of training, which offered a rare spot on the bench for Dilan Markanday, albeit he was unused at the Stadium of Light.

 

Szmodics fell awkwardly during the Christmas Day training session, though Tomasson said it was too early to say the extent of the problem for the summer signing.

 

Ryan Hedges was the player chosen to replace Dolan in the starting line-up, having been left out at Carrow Road for the previous league fixture.

“Dolan will be out for a while, a couple of weeks. With Sam, I don't know, I haven't seen the medical reports so I can't give you an update. It was late, I can't give an idea on that right now,” he explained.

Tomasson also ruled out Hayden Carter and Jack Vale of the Boro game on Thursday.

Striker Vale has now returned to training after a calf issue, with a similar problem keeping out defender Carter.

Clinton Mola didn’t travel to Wearside having been replaced at half time in the Carabao Cup defeat to Forest, though Tomasson didn’t put that down to injury.

 

Adam Wharton travelled, but didn’t make the bench, with Ash Phillips returning to the Championship matchday squad for the first time in seven games.

There was concern for Rovers in the second half when Ben Brereton required treatment on his ankle after falling awkwardly following a challenge on Lynden Gooch.

Rovers had readied George Hirst, though Brereton played on to complete the 90 minutes, despite showing signs of pain.

Hirst did eventually come on, replacing Sam Gallagher for the closing stages, with Lewis Travis Rovers’ other substitute used.

On the potential of Brereton being replaced, Tomasson said: “We just needed to have him (Hirst) ready.

“Ben got caught and he might not have been able to continue, so we needed someone ready if we needed to change him, because we needed 11 players on the pitch for the set piece.”

Gallagher and Bradley Dack were replaced as part of Rovers’ double change something Tomasson put down to their inability to play 90 minutes, with an eye on upcoming games, given other issues within the squad.

Brereton remains the only outfield player to start every game for Rovers, but he has gone four league games without a goal after failing to find the target against Burnley, Preston North End, Norwich or Sunderland. Hopefully the Boro defence will keep him and their other strikers quiet and we can keep a clean sheet.

 

So come on you Diasborians let me canvas your predictions.

 

Now are we going to hit the sawdust and come crashing down to earth?

 

Or, Boro deliver a knockout blow and rattle the teeth of Blackburn?

 

Me?

 

I’m going for  1-2 win for Boro!

 

🥊

 

OFB

 

 

 

 


deleriad
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Great opener from OFB. Definitely a 2 mince-pie offering.

This feels like the start of what could be a season-defining run of games. Of the next 5 games, 4 of them are against teams above us and all of those are direct rivals for the play-offs. Come out of this with another 10 points on the board and we can consider ourselves genuine play-off candidates but if we slip up, we'll be slipping up against teams we will struggle to catch for the rest of the season.

I was too busy on family duties to catch the Wigan match but we're probably in as good a place as you can be to go to Blackburn and get a result. It is a bit of a bogey ground for us and although we, via Chuba, have been scoring goals for fun we have been struggling to keep clean sheets: just one in 7 games under Carrick.

It will be interesting to see if Howson recovers from his head clash though, by all accounts, Mowatt deputised ably for him. Dijksteel looks like he's out for a few weeks and it is looking like Muniz may be heading back to Fulham; a shame because I liked the way he played when he first started with us but clearly it hasn't worked for him or us so going back seems like the best option for both parties.

Blackburn are yet to draw this season so a classic surprise result would be the traditional eyes in the sky 👁️👁️

 


Andy R
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Thanks once again OFB - a thorough preview and a thoroughly good read.

Like Deleriad, I was unable to see the game yesterday. I’ve seen the highlights since and it seemed like another fairly tight game that Boro just ran away with in the second half, much like the reverse fixture.

I think most of the games under Carrick have been quite tight affairs with Boro usually just finding a way. That “way” is easier to find when you have a crosser/creator like Giles and a man in scintillating form up front in Akpom.

Incidentally, it was great to hear Chuba talking about how he’d been studying Giles at his previous clubs and working out the optimum positions to take up. That’s very mature and professional. Not something you hear every day and I was impressed at Chuba’s efforts behind the scenes to make the most of his talents on it. It’s working.

I expect the Blackburn game to be another competitive affair that could go either way and am just hoping that we find that way once again. I’d be very tempted to take a draw right now but a defeat won’t especially hurt given we’re away at the team 3rd in the league and don’t often get much down there, so why not hope for the win instead.

The head says 1-1. The heart says Blackburn 1-2 Boro.

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Andy R

K P in Spain
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Thanks OFB for your festive opener.

Ewood Park has generally not to be very kind to us over the years and we have tended to struggle against Rovers both home and away, particularly under Mogga.

Given our current run of form then this could be the ideal time to play them. I don’t see it being a high scoring game and expect only one goal in it and hopefully to us. CoB 😎


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K P in Spain
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Just been reported that Dean Smith has been sacked by Norwich. 😎


Liked by 4 people: Malcolm, jarkko, deleriad and Original Fat Bob
 
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exmil
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

Just been reported that Dean Smith has been sacked by Norwich. 😎

Is this an opening for Wilder 🤔

Come on BORO.


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Original Fat Bob
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@exmil 

wilder one of the favourite’s apparently!


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Ken Smith
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A very comprehensive preview from OFB of our next opponents in this season’s Championship. Of all Boro’s opponents only defeats against Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton, Villa and Liverpool have historically been worse than visits to Ewood Park. Boro have lost more matches against Blackburn especially on Teesside than against any other club in the last 30 years; fortunately though this week’s match is on the other side of the Pennines where results have been marginally better.

Boro won at Ewood Park 4-0 in 2004 when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored a hat trick and recorded their biggest ever away win 7-1 in 1947 when Cec McCormack also did likewise, but also slumped to their biggest ever defeat 0-9 in 1954 where Tommy Briggs had a field day that season scoring 140 goals in only 194 appearances.

And yes, I’m probably the only person still alive who remembers all three of those matches although not seeing any of them live. Will this Thursday’s match prove to be Rovers’ first draw of the season, or follow the sequence of LWLWLW etc? I believe that Boro have yet to beat any team above them at the time of their meeting this season, but face two difficult away matches in succession so would take two draws at the moment, but still feel that Boro are an outside chance to reach the playoffs.


David in Cumbria
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Thanks for the opener OFB. There isn't much time between games at this time of year for Andy and you to prepare especially with the festivities. Well done to both of you for very detailed openers.

According to the Middlesbrough F C website both the Blackburn and Birmingham matches are being streamed "worldwide" so I am desperate that I get to see us put in good displays. A win against Blackburn would be a great start though I would settle for at least a couple of draws. Having looked at the highlights against Wigan, our goals were well constructed and scored. We must however stop conceding the usual goal, this time with Smith trying to mark 2 Wigan players behind him on the far post.


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Ken Smith
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Sorry, obviously missed the away match at Carrow Road 


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Forever Dormo
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Nice starter again, OFB.

Really this is not the time to go back to predicting results, but...

Boro's recent form is excellent and the blip at Burnley does not take away from that.  A very large proportion of the teams in the Championship will come away from Turf Moor empty handed this season (and many will also lose their home games to Burnley), so a 3-1 reverse half-way up the Pennines still leaves Boro as a team in good form and with confidence, and that confidence will have been restored by the 4-1 Boxing Day vanquishing of Wigan.  Having said which Blackburn sits in 3rd place in the table and I watched on TV as Burnley's East Lancashire rivals beat Sunderland only a week or so ago with 2 late goals and on 17th December Blackburn "did a Boro" and beat Norwich at Carrow Road.  Having said all that it's not as if Boro has a good record away at Blackburn.

So, in reality, there is a case to be argued for Blackburn to win at home even if Boro performs creditably. Equally it wouldn't strain credulity if Boro returned to pre-Burnley form and won.  And, of course, there is the draw and, say it cautiously, even OFB's legendary Eyeballs in the Sky. I quite like the sound of the suggestion made above by OFB and AndyR, and hinted at by KP in Spain - a 2-1 Boro win.  I would not, however put the proverbial Fiver on it.

I AM looking forward to the game and I am informed it is to be shown live on SkyTV.  Perhaps a little trip to the Tortured Toad is called for. In fact I plan to go there tonight which can be treated as a "recce" for the main football event tomorrow. I won't enjoy it, of course - it will be for "football reasons".


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Plato
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@forever-dormo 

I think that the time has arrived for our well touted Winger to come Good and scuttle the opposition, and confound us all. 


Original Fat Bob
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@plato 

 

Meanwhile on the other wing…..

Giles moved to the top of the Championship assists table after creating three of Boro’s four goals in their Boxing Day win over Wigan Athletic.

He now has seven for the season operating from left wing-back for Boro, having reached double figures for assists in 2021/22

OFB


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jarkko
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Could it be that some teams put two men to mark Jones out of the game?

Perhaps Wigan over played that, too. The result was that Jones was not as effective as last season. And that GILES had a lot of space on the other wing on Boxing Day. 

That would have been a good question to put in front of Carrick in today's press conference! 

Just saying,  like.  Up the Boro!


K P in Spain
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@jarkko.  That was my view of the game.  

Wigan seemed determined to stop Jones and overloaded on the right, with the consequence that Giles had acres of space on the left and the team took full advantage.  

Let’s hope Blackburn do something similar and we can capitalise on it again.  😎


Forever Dormo
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@plato - That WOULD be good.


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Forever Dormo
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@jarkko - That's always been my view.  If you have a player who creates such havoc in the opposition's ranks that they decide to double-mark him, another one of our players somewhere else must be free.  Each team has eleven.  It doesn't matter if Jones isn't putting goal-scoring opportunities in front of Akpom or Forrs, so long as that means Giles is able to step up to the mark instead!


jarkko
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@forever-dormo Exactly! Now we have McGree and Giles on the left. And the Akpom in the middle behind the Flying Finn, Forss. So we ask a lot of questions from the opposition. 

That is how a team must work. Happy days.  Up the Boro! 


Forever Dormo
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Been to the Slaughtered Stoat.  I understand NOW that the Boro game is on Sky Red Button rather than on the main channels, and therefore will NOT be available to view at a commerical premises like a pub. BOOO!

In other news the first half pint of Sunbeam (for many months) went down a treat as did its competing half pint of Courage Directors.  In view of the relative alcohol levels a decision was taken to drink pints of Sunbeam thereafter.  A good night was had...  Might be some beers will be drunk again but, after New Year, wine will reign supreme again.


jarkko
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One can always purchase a single match pass at https://www.mfc.co.uk/live. The Blackburn match will be available worldwide including the UK.

I will be clued to the screen tonight. Up the Boro! 


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jarkko
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Each of Rovers’ last four goals scored against tonight’s opponents Middlesbrough have come via the boot of Sam Gallagher, so there’s no surprise he’s relishing the chance to continue that streak at Ewood Park tonight.

Gallagher netted twice in the 2-1 win at the Riverside in October after the dubious goals panel awarded him the opener that was initially credited as a Darragh Lenihan own goal.

Gallager is a centre forward who can also play on both wings. Let's hope he has a quiet night and Lenihan can be more effective now. The two players built up a close friendship at Blackburn. 

Blackburn Rovers also face nervous Ben Brereton Diaz wait ahead of Middlesbrough challenge. He picked up a knock at Sunderland and they’ll talk with their medical department before deciding.

I hope to see a 1-2 win for the Carrick Boro tonight. Up the Boro!

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by jarkko

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Forever Dormo
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@jarkko - Glued.  As in "I used epoxy adhesive to glue the two parts together". A clue is something Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot might use to track down a murder.  But knowing your English is SO much better than my Finnish, it could simply be that your fingers are as fat as mine when it comes to a keyboard...

Having said which @LevParikian confirms via Twitter that the Finnish name for a robin is "punarinta", a grey heron is "harmaahaikara", a teal is "tavi", and a blackbird is "mustarastas". Quite why he tells us the Finnish name as well as the common nicknames and the scientific (Latin) name as well as a representation of the bird's call is unknown.  I mean, on his Twitter site he doesn't give the Danish, Spanish or French names.  And I assume he isn't pranking us by making Finnish names up!

On to other matters: we are currently at the semi-final stage of the World Cup of Random English Words on Lev Parikian's Twitter site which, apart from birds and birdsong, covers classical music as he is a conductor and other random threads.  We started out with something like 1,024 words in a 1 against 1 format with the  word attracting the most votes going through to the next round until we have reached the last 4.  Flibbertigibbet, Discombobulate, Whippersnapper and Balderdash were eliminated in the quarterfinals.  At midday today (29th December 2022) we have Shenanigans v Bollocks and at 6pm Codswallop v Higgledy-piggledy (3rd place play off at 11am on 31st December and Final at midday the same day).  Bollocks beat Mellifluous 57-43%in the round 7, whilst Snuggle beat Besmirch 60-40% and Scurrilous beat Cornucopia 54-46% in the earlier rounds, sometimes to the disgust or complaint or participants, but we can't argue with the numbers.  Time now to vote for Bollocks (Great hilarity ensued at a "Middle Ages re-enactment camp" we attended some decades ago with our son - one of the participants was sharpening his bollock dagger.  The name described the end of the handle and it was unmistakeable in its appearance but, to no surprise, all the little boys present kept on repeating the name of the object as if suddenly allowed to use the word as a proper descriptive).  The things we do as we count down to another Boro game...

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Forever Dormo

Liked by 4 people: Original Fat Bob, jarkko, Clive Hurren and deleriad
 
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Ken Smith
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Jarrko  

Going back to that 0-9 thrashing from Blackburn in November 1954. that defeat came out of the blue as Boro had beaten West Ham 6-0 only the week before. But Tommy Briggs had given Boro a taster of what to expect having previously scored 7 times in a demolition of Bristol Rovers, a record haul at the time in a single match

That was the season that Boro lost 8 successive matches in their first season outside the top tier of the Football  League, but Boro recovered to beat Fulham 4-2 a week later, and by Easter would have been in the top 8 with an outside chance of promotion had they beaten Birmingham twice, but unfortunately they lost both matches.

But I wouldn’t be too concerned that another Rovers bogey player in Sam Gallagher might continue his scoring touch tonight. I’d be more concerned about Brereton Diaz if he were fit enough to play.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 3 times by Ken Smith

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Forever Dormo
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I did LevParikian a disservice - we started off with 4,096 words with only 4 left standing (for now!).


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Clive Hurren
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Posted by: @jarkko

Could it be that some teams put two men to mark Jones out of the game?

Perhaps Wigan over played that, too. The result was that Jones was not as effective as last season. And that GILES had a lot of space on the other wing on Boxing Day. 

Jarkko - and Dormo

I have a theory about tonight’s game. Rovers know all about Giles, of course, as he was with them last season. They know all about his crosses and his wicked left foot. This gives them a problem. If they decide to stick two men on him, it presumably leaves more room for Jones on the other flank? If they double up on both of them, it leaves vast spaces through the middle for Chuba, Forss, Hackney and McGree/Watmore to drive through. I think the only way they can counter the threat from both Boro wings is for their own attacking wide men to play in withdrawn, semi-defensive positions, which might limit their own attacking threat. 

My guess is tonight that Rovers will worry less about Jones and more about Giles. I hope this allows Isaiah a bit more room and time on the ball and that he can exploit this to our advantage. It’s time he had a good game. 

I might be wrong, of course. The extent of my tactical knowledge runs to ‘Stop mucking about and belt the ball upfield’ and ‘Oway, get stuck in!’ So please don’t blame me if it turns out that Tomasson has a master attacking plan of his own! 

I’d be happy with a point. 


Original Fat Bob
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@clive-hurren 

my tactical knowledge usually extends to “get rid of it !”

or

”take him off”

both widely used expressive techniques I find in coaching !

 

OFB


jarkko
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Posted by: @forever-dormo

@jarkko - Glued.  As in "I used epoxy adhesive to glue the two parts together". A clue is something Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot might use to track down a murder.  But knowing your English is SO much better than my Finnish, it could simply be that your fingers are as fat as mine when it comes to a keyboard...

It was my flat fingers combined with dyslexia. I really have the latter.

Thanks for correcting. I think I have a clue about glueing my eyes to the PC screen tonight.

Sorry about your luck with red button (in Finland we do not have such a service, but then we have extra internet channels if two or more sporting events are broadcast the same time) in in Kidutettu Kärppä.

Up the Boro! 


Martin Bellamy
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@jarkko If you really have dyslexia, then I’m even more in awe of your language skills. 

I’ve paid my £10 to watch via BoroLive - just hoping the 4G holds out at the static van. Two weeks to go until we finally get the keys for our new house - after 4 months living here, we’re ready. 


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jarkko
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Here's the list of the current 92 clubs across the Premier League and Football League in order of their most recent scorer of 20 league goals. 

https://www.thesportsman.com/articles/erling-haaland-s-20-goals-the-last-20-goal-scorer-for-every-english-league-club

There is only one club below us - only Northampton Town fans have waited longer than us. Dear me.

Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago 2 times by jarkko

Andy R
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I think you double on on someone when you’re worried about them 1v1 and beating their man too easily. Giles isn’t that sort of player. He’s more in the Beckham mould of getting the ball out his feet and whipping in a cross with quality. Doubling up would be a waste of time as it doesn’t stop him doing what he does.

Jones on the other hand is that sort of fast, tricky winger who - at his best - looks to take his marker out of the game, attract another defender and find a pass/low cross to the spare man. He’s the one you double up on.

The only way to defend against Giles is either to stop him getting the ball in the first place or to defend the cross when it comes in. Both are difficult because he’s playing at left back rather than left wing so is often a spare man as the wingers and forwards are being looked after, whilst defending his crosses is even harder given the quality of delivery and anticipation of Akpom in particular at the moment.

Blackburn’s plan must surely be to force us back as far as they can and to try to stop Giles being advanced enough to put his crosses in. However, that will leave space on the counter for the pace of Jones and Forss.

It’s quite a balanced team Carrick has come up with in that sense with multiple avenues to chances. Blackburn will have to decide if they prefer to limit Giles but leave space or limit space but be open to Giles.

They will also know, however, that Giles can be got at defensively.

Should be a competitive encounter and I’m looking forward to it.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Andy R

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