Boro v Preston
Boro may still be seething from events at the weekend but there’s no time to dwell on it as we welcome Preston North End to the Riverside on Tuesday night for a 7.45pm kick-off.
They say it’s better to be lucky than good and Boro fans will be hoping Chris Wilder’s weekend misfortune isn’t a sign of things to come. Boro started well against Millwall with a high intensity passing game that the visitors couldn’t handle but a questionable equaliser took the wind out of the hosts sails.
That referee, Oliver Langford, overruled his assistant to deny a foul on Duncan Watmore was controversial enough but then play was again allowed to continue when Paddy McNair was violently elbowed in the face. To compound Boro’s luck, Lee Peltier made a stern challenge in the box that could have sent the ball anywhere away from goal only to see it smash into Sol Bamba. Again, the ball could have deflected anywhere but no, it cruelly diverted past Luke Daniels and into the Boro goal to a chorus of angry boos from the home fans, furious at the ref’s lack of whistle blowing.
I would have thought that, whether the elbow was deliberate or not, play would be stopped for a blow to the head. BBC Tees commentators, and no doubt several other Boro fans, thought it was a straight red card.
The second half was more even but Boro still edged it. They couldn’t score a winner but at least we didn’t concede a second half goal for once.
How Preston wish they could say the same. Leading 1-0 at home to Cardiff on Saturday, they conceded twice in the second half to lose 1-2, leaving them two places and two points behind Boro in 16th place.
Like Boro, Frankie McAvoy’s men are in inconsistent form, having won three and lost three of their last six as opposed to Boro’s won two, drawn two and lost two. Their three recent wins against Coventry, Luton and Bournemouth show that they can play on their day but defeats against rivals Blackpool, Forest (3-0) and Cardiff show that like many in this league, they blow hot and cold.
The good news for Boro is that Preston’s main struggles this season have been away from Deepdale, where they’ve won only once all season from 9 games.
However, they do appear to have a dangerous striker among their ranks in 6’3” Danish forward, Emil Riis Jakobsen, who has scored 11 goals in 22 appearances this season including 7 in 15 Championship games. This is all the more notable given that Preston are one of the lowest scorers in the division with just 19 goals - one less than Boro – making them joint-sixth bottom on that particular Championship metric.
Boro’s home form is nothing to shout about but there were positives from the performance at the weekend and a sense of injustice may be the fuel required to overcome what could be a jittery Preston on their travels.
The big question before Saturday’s game was whether Chris Wilder would go with his preferred 3-5-2 formation or whether he’d be more inclined to work with what’s got until January at least. That question was answered and we can expect that to become our new default shape for the foreseeable. Whether the returning Marc Bola or the ageing Bamba can start again remains to be seen but, certainly in Bamba’s case, such worries haven’t materialised so far this season and the options remain limited in any case.
Fine margins have been the deciding factor for many a Boro game this season and we haven’t yet been good enough to overcome an unhelpful referee or a bad piece of fortune. So, can Chris Wilder prove good enough? If not, can he get lucky?
Thanks, Andy. Great opener.
- I second to that. Excellent start to our next match. UTB!
I’m surrounded by Preston supporting neighbours, so a Boro win would be much appreciated. 🤞🏻
Well done Andy a great start to a new week a new game and hopefully a new winning streak.
I agree that we had a shocking performance by the match officials although I still don’t think it was a foul on Watmore. The issue though was that the assistant flagged which most referees would have acknowledged and given the foul.
Retrospectively the FA should look at the forearm smash on Paddy which was thuggish to say the least. We need VAR in this league.
Looking forward to watching Preston and seeing the Boro it’s exciting times isn’t it?
Thanks Andy for another great opener. 😎
Well done, Andy R. Thanks for the starter for 10.
I have no idea how the PNE game will turn out, having missed the Millwall game (on holiday in Scotland). It is sunny outside in North Yorkshire today and I see the weather forecast tomorrow evening is for Cloudy/Moony intervals - 6 degrees C, about 6-7% chance of rain, and a gentle 6mph south-westerly breeze. So at least the walk up to the ground from the direction of Forty Foot Road should be pleasant (in contrast to the rain/cloud/hail/wind/cloud again.... from the last week in the North West Highlands where only one day would be allowed, generously, to pass muster). Three points, please.
Great Headliner Andy, thanks for the time and effort to put out a good article.
Moony intervals? Does that mean we’re likely to see the return of Dean Windass?
Boom Boom, Clive!
Sunny intervals = where the weather alternates between clouds & sunshine. Moony intervals = where (after sunset) the weather alternates between a cloudy sky, and periods when the Moon shines through.
...but I like the idea of Dean Windass. A wholehearted player with a big backside (and character).
just watched the presser, ve
Thanks for the definition. I’ve never heard that before. Is it a Scots expression?
i was at a Boro pre-season friendly at Preston many moons ago (!!) where Windass bared his bum to the Boro fans during the warm-up. It was a friendly gesture which we all appreciated- genuinely! Fans found it very funny.
@clive-hurren I was there that day too, with my family. I recall he was goaded into it by the Boro fans.
Argentine newspaper Clarin today dedicates an entire page to a long interview they made with Carlos Marinelli. The former midfielder, who started his career as a promising youngster at Boca Juniors, recalled his entire story and the difficulties he faced abroad.
It was in a European tour that the Buenos Aires side faced several clubs who got interested in the player at the time. One of them were Middlesbrough, who according to him, spent US$4m on his transfer when he was just a teenager.
“Yes, they negotiated quickly and paid 4 million dollars. It was a big sale because half of the pass belonged to my dad. The day of the transfer I was crying for hours in the bathroom of my house because I knew that a beautiful stage of friends and family was ending,” Marinelli told Clarin.
“Back there the best thing would have been to stay in Argentina and not skip so many stages. But the career went like this: the train passed and I got on. And I cannot complain because today I live from that.”
“Yes, a lot of expectation was generated with my arrival. The reserves played on Wednesdays at the main stadium and 400 people attended, at most. In my first game there were 10,000 fans and I got to score a goal with a free kick. They were delirious.
“I played 10 games and scored 9 goals playing second striker. I made my debut in the first team when I was 17 years old. There were Paul Ince, Alan Boksic and Karembeu and they were the ones who called me Dieguito. I also shared a team with Paul Gascoigne, a genius. But I was never able to hold on because, among other things, they put wide in a 4-4-2.”
After three years at Middlesbrough, Marinelli ended up being loaned to Italian side Torino. That’s where he found a poor situation, but ended up overcoming it. That’s why he regrets having returned to Boro after only six months in Italy.
“The club was melted: we trained on dirt courts. Again they compared me to Maradona. In the first matches it was very good for me and we started to win. In the derby against Juventus they sent me off for pushing the referee. Later, the leaders fought with my representative and I returned to England. Other error. I should’ve stayed in Italy, even if they offered me half of what I earned at Boro.”
With things not going great in his return to Middlesbrough, Marinelli left the club for good in 2004, in a move back to Boca Juniors.
Thanks for your intro Andy but did you have to mention that Preston have only won one away game (so far)?
I had forgotten what it was like when we play at home on Saturday and Tuesday. I got home at 1:40pm on Sunday have had Monday to recover and will set off from home again at 12:15pm tomorrow. I would probably fail a fitness test and be told not to travel. Hopefully the players recover better than me and can put in another high pressing game. We need to win to show Wilder's change in the way we play can work with the available players and prevent a bigger gap to the playoff places before he can bring in new players in January.
Having checked for events going on in Middlesbrough on Tuesday I haven't found anything to explain why hotels are so full/expensive then. I book a hotel as soon as Sky announce which matches they have chosen. The Premier Inn charge was way above any previous cost while the Holiday Inn Express was full.
I see that the press are reporting that Big Uche has no part to play at Boro and will be available for transfer in January.
On the one hand, CW is showing he can make quick decisions on players. I could suggest 2 or 3 more should be on their way.
But on the other hand , Uche is still here for the next 7 or so games and this can’t do much for his motivation and if chosen to play, will hardly be motivated to “ run through a brick wall “ for the manager.
Turning to the Preston game , most teams with a new manager enjoy an upturn in results. So, having not won against Millwall then a win is due tomorrow , especially as Preston have an awful away record. But a draw or worse still a loss will be a disaster in my view.
Philip of Huddersfield
@clive-hurren: I think it's my very own expression. Something for my gravestone (but hopefully not for quite a long time).
I was wondering who CW was likely to move on to create space in the 25 man squad, particularly if he wants to bring back Djed Spence. However, both Darnell Fisher and Sammy Ameobi are both in the submitted list so I wonder if he will remove at least one of them, probably Fisher as it has been stated that he is out for the season. Maybe send Marcus Browne out on loan as well.
@mw-in-darwin I heard from Craig Johns that most probably Spence doesn’t necessarily take a space in the squad numbers as he was younger than 21 year old one when the season started.
I do not think our midfield need much changes but possibly a new striker and a centre back is required. The latter especially as we seem to play with 3 centre backs now.
Up the Boro!
I would have thought that any wingers are now surplus to requirements to create space in the squad.
Ameobi and Brown are the most obvious given injuries but possibly Hernandez could go back to Norwich too and where does it leave Warnock’s punt on Olusanya? Jones may be ok to continue as a backup wingback but it’s shame for him as that’s not his best position and he has really burst into the scene in a position that now seems defunct for Boro.
Wilder may want to recall Spence, Coulson and Wood to bolster his numbers in positions he uses without taking up squad space, although at 23 Coulson may not be exempt and we have Taylor now in any case.
We’re short up front so I’m surprised at the rumours surrounding Uche. It must surely mean that Wilder has a striker lined up for January.
He may want a centre half and - a name I’ve mentioned before - I’d be looking at 22yr old Harry Darling at MK Dons. He’s excellent on the ball and could be a relatively cheap option to get a ball carrying, overlapping centre-back into the squad who would surely see the move as a step up.
The attendance was 20,845 against Millwall on Saturday. I do not know what the average has been with Saturdays' attendances. Was it higher for Wilder's debut or not?
I am sure Ken has recorded all the home attendances this season. Would be great to learn the trend 😊.
I hope to see over 20 000 people at Riverside this evening.
Preston is not that far away. So could they raise the attendance, too?
Up the Boro?
@jarkko, the attendances this season that I have found are:
Bristol City 22,004
QPR 22,436 *
Shef Utd 19,390 *
Barnsley 17,931 *
* midweek match
Average = 21,591
That is this season’s attendances
Come on BORO.
@exmil Thank you, mate.
So surprisingly there was no extra people to see Wilder times at Riverside on Saturday. After all the halo. I do not understand.
Up the Boro!
I think this is the link you meant to post:
Although if you watch the MFC pre match briefing, you will see the reporter has taken what Wilder actually said out of context.
Come on BORO.
Team News: Boro unchanged - though Stojanovic is on the bench instead of Lumley and Dijksteel back as sub after injury
I've not had much time lately to keep an eye on football so looking forward to a quiet evening enjoying watching Boro - what could possibly go wrong!
Thanks to Andy for the preview, which I've just read and I share his concerns at some of the fitness limitations within the team - especially as it's an unchanged selection after Sporar has been passed fit and Bola appears to have come through his post-injury return.
While I'm fairly relaxed to see how Chris Wilder's tenure unfolds, we shouldn't lose track of the fact that Boro really need to pick up points in these kind of games if they are to retain a credible interest in a play-off spot. Lose today and in all likelihood it will be a 8-9 point gap to 6th place since QPR play 7th-place Huddersfield tomorrow.
Hopefully, the players won't get distracted by any poor refereeing decisions and will need to show professionalism and put these setbacks out of their mind. Boro would have probably gone on to beat Millwall if they'd scored a boring legitimate equaliser instead of a controversial one.
Anyway, Boro will probably need a two goal lead at half-time to ensure they get all three points given their tendency to drop off their game after an hour.
Prediction: 3-0 to Boro and even Wilder celebrations at the Riverside!