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Boro v QPR: Preview
 

Boro v QPR: Preview

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The relentless hectic restart fixture schedule continues as once again it's the day after the day before and means Boro must get ready to prepare for the next game. Thankfully, there is little time to reflect on the defeat on Thursday as the players somehow contrived to give Hull the boost of their first victory in over six months - which is of course the less than solid foundation stone on which typical Boro has been constructed over the many years of mistakenly building up hope.

Neil Warnock has quickly learned the lesson of what many in charge on Teesside have discovered in recent years - the execution of the final ball by the team is simply not good enough and were it ever to be placed to perfection then those meant to get on the end of it had probably already slipped over long before it arrived.

Tony Pulis was fond of counting crosses during his time at Boro as a proxy-substitute for shots on goal but I suspect Warnock is not a man to accept winning the statistical battle on the pitch. Although, he bears some responsibility for dropping Fletcher from the central striker role and opting for Assombalonga as lone striker.

Most Boro observers downstream on the Tees will have noticed that during in his time at the club, Britt has always looked a fish out of water in that role. The £15 million man is not a player you'd fancy to leap like salmon to get on the end of a cross - indeed, he often gives the impression of being barely able to leap like a half-defrosted trout with cloudy eyes as he slithers to the ground.

Warnock also bemoaned the choices of players to attempt the worldie killer pass that they've seen on a Messie best-bits DVD as that eye-of-the-needle turned out to be much smaller than they'd originally thought. OK, passing for some Boro players is not a problem, Patrick Roberts for example rarely misplaces a pass - though that's mainly because once he receives the ball he seems to forget he's allowed to pass it to another red shirt as he begins another quest to dribble past as many opposition defenders as it takes.

However, for all the shortcomings in the squad, there is still probably a half-decent team waiting to be discovered - unfortunately nobody has so far found the right combination of players to fit together. Perhaps, it's something that will only happen by accident but it doesn't seem like one that is waiting to happen - time is running out and with just six games left to avoid finishing in the bottom three, Boro desperately need a lucky dip from their manager from the selection bag.

The much-travelled Neil Warnock unsurprisingly welcomes one of his former clubs to the Riverside on Sunday as he hopes to put the disappointment of Hull behind him. The good news is that QPR have lost all three of their games since the restart and Thursday's defeat will also have hopefully removed any complacency that the players thought a place in the bottom three was also behind them.

There are few team selection issues to ponder over with Djed Spence apparently suffering a dead leg or an internal haemorrhage around the quadriceps if that doesn't sound serious enough for pessimists. Spence would be big loss as he's looked lively since his return but finding the balance between offering a threat and defence at full-back looks still a work in progress. On the other flank, Marvin Johnson hasn't looked that solid and Hayden Coulson is currently operating at a winger.

Maybe, Warnock could consider a switch to a back three but in the end with essentially just one day to train before the Hoops visit would suggest nothing radical. Most expect Fletcher will return but whether it's in a Stoke-style line-up is anyone's guess - Roberts could be rested and the energetic Tavernier given the start instead but the problem could be in midfield if Howson is shifted to right-back to cover for Spence. Neither McNair or Wing have looked at their best and maybe Adam Clayton will be drafted in to shore up matters.

So, give your thoughts on possible team selections and any predictions of a possible return to winning ways with a valuable three points...

 

This topic was modified 4 years ago 8 times by werdermouth

   
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Ken Smith
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In this crazy division made even more so since matches have been played behind closed doors where home advantage has been nullified can Boro break the trend? They have yet to win at home this year with only 4 draws and 3 defeats to show since beating Huddersfield 1-0 on Boxing Day. Overall their home record against QPR is distinctly average with only 12 wins and 4 draws in 22 meetings, alth


   
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jarkko
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We must win, simple as that. Typical Boro would give QPR their first win after their three defeats since the lock down. 

I will go for for hard fought win, though. 1-0 and I back Assombalonga to continue scoring. He - as most strikers - usually do them in batches, doesn't he.

Spectators 86 including Steve Gibson. His season ticket is betten than average, but he pays a million per month, so fully deserves it. Even he don't get much entertained.

Up the Boro!


   
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Chris Hunneysett
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Playing 3 at the back with wingbacks will give us the best chance of not conceding. Playing Fletcher will give us the best chance of scoring.


   
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jarkko
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I think four at the back is enough. Hull did not have many chances, we just slept once when they scored.

But Fletcher is a must to start with Assombalonga.  Up the Boro! 


   
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@Chris Hunnysett

Did you notice there are two movie/film threads Chris?


   
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I m watching Norwich vs Brighton and the commentator mentioned that Brighton’s manager, Graham Potter has a degree in Emotional Intelligence. A quick google brought this up. 

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_45.htm

 

Im not sure that leadership can be taught, and think it’s just a natural talent. However, it helps if bad leaders can get some idea of where they are going wrong.


   
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Chris Hunneysett
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@grovehillwallah

I did, but I prefer to stay on the footie. Mostly because of time constraints, and also partly because I come here for the footie as respite from the day job. 


   
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Werder,

A lovely preview but you frightened me. QPR haven't won a match since the restart? Aargh. Who is the perfect team to play, home or away, when you haven't won a game for ages? I think we know the answer but I refuse to write it down. I am now officially worried, very worried, about the QPR game.

UTB, John


   
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Ken Smith
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I don’t know what happened in my original post as only part of it was posted, but nil desperandum as I wish to chose a Boro match against QPR played on the 26th September 1970 as one to remember,  although I didn’t actually see this particular match because my wife and I celebrated a wedding anniversary in York and decided to watch the inaugural Benson and Hedges Golf Tournament for the final day’s play at Fulford where we were both delighted to watch Tony Jacklin eagle the final hole to win by one stroke.

At the time I was happy to have missed that Boro match with Boro in a similar position as today 19th in the League, and as I listened to the first few minutes on the radio before parking the car with Boro 0-2 down within the first 5 minutes there was a distinct possibility that Boro would be in the bottom 3 by 5pm.  So imagine my surprise when I got home to hear that Boro had won the match 6-2. Apparently Boro led 4-2 at halftime with 2 goals from John Hickton, and one each from Derrick Downing and Hugh McIlmoyle. Hickton went on to complete his hat trick whilst McIlmoyle scored another goal. 

That season saw Boro also beat Manchester United 2-1 in a 3rd Round FA Cup replay and only lose one more home match as they finished 7th with 48 points from their 42 matches, but also create another record by drawing each of their final 8 matches.

However I doubt that Boro would be able to concede two early goals tomorrow and still win, never mind score 6 goals. Nearly half a century ago and a completely different era. Any win will do nowadays, so 1-0 from me.


   
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That’s us in the bottom three now....


   
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Pedro de Espana
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Thanks for the preview Werder, but prehaps you should have missed out the bit about QPR not winning. If ever there was a hex, that could be it.

As GHW said, bottom three now and more pressure heaped on Mr Warnock and the already jittery players. Can I see us winning......not really, unless we can score at least a couple. Five at back, two up front to start with. 


   
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ghw bottom three is Barnsley, Wigan, Luton surely?


   
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Thanks Werder for the preview which was another good read and I am just hoping the match is as good but given Thursday's performance, I am not holding my breath!

i commented earlier in the week that in my view NW needs to get square pegs in square holes whenever possible to do so.  If Spence is not available then Howson at full back is not the answer.  Use either Shotton or Fry in that position as they have performed well there in the past and use Howson in midfield. If fit then Moukoudi should be in defence either in a four or three.

Fletcher needs to start and with Britt as we need goals and three points.  I have us down for a win in the Exmil challenge but given I got our first two results wrong then I just hope I don't make it three in a row.

As I have watched the other results come in and seen us slip into the bottom three then I have become more fearful as the hours tick by.  

The mood music from NW is not great, albeit he is only highlighting the deficiencies in the squad which most of us have been aware of for a number of seasons and he has also indicated that he would prefer to play against teams who have nothing left to play for!

I fear that if we lose this one then we are doomed.  CoB 😎


   
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@nigelreeve. Nigel, the BBC website shows we are third bottom.  Wigan's points deduction is not applied until all games are completed and only then if they finish out side the bottom three.  If they are in the bottom three without the points deduction (not looking likely at this stage) then the points deduction carries over into League 1 and they would start next season on -12 points. 😎


   
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I’ve just watched NW’s press conference for the QPR game, to say it doesn’t instill much confidence would be an understatement. In times like this you get more insight of how things are by the things he doesn’t say. 

There wasn’t much positivity and judging by some of his comments he’s realised just how poor a squad he’s inherited. He’d already lost me until he suggested that Jordan Hugill would probably go for around £15/20m in the summer!

 

Perhaps it’s just me, but he sounded like he doesn’t think we have the players to survive. As has been said, we have to rely on three teams having a lower points total than us. Wigan’s point deduction could be a life saver for us.


   
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Thanks for the preview Werder. I had noticed that QPR have lost their last 3 games so it might be another typical Boro game as was our dreadful play against Hull who were also dreadful but managed to grab the goals they needed. After Hull equalised it was just a poor game with two bad teams and it was not a great surprise that in the end we left Johnson in the middle with three Hull players to mark. 

When Warnock took over I posted that he had shown courage. Perhaps it was the biggest mistake of his managerial career. He won't want to end with a relegation so I hope he can somehow inspire a fighting and successful end to the season. I thought Warnock would have seen enough of Britt to know he cannot play as a lone striker and had expected the same team at Hull as had won against Stoke. Fletcher would in any case have been better up front on his own. 

When we had matches against Barnsley and Luton in February I had been hoping for 2 wins to lift us clear but those defeats have proved disastrous and showed JW was not going to save us. Today Barnsley and Luton were hammered. We should have at least scraped 2 wins against them.

I won the lottery on Friday but would happily swop my winnings (£3.50) for a Boro win tomorrow.

  


   
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Normally you would hope that seeing the Championship table would be enough to motivate the players but with so many winding down contracts and a few that have never really looked that interested I'm not so sure. Maybe Warnock needs to stick with the younger players who are still under contract and who actually want to stave off relegation for the benefit of their own careers?

That we are relying on Wigan receiving a 12 point deduction tells a sorry tale. I don't think the EFL come out of the Wigan situation with any credibility and indeed if there was some form of push back from Wigan it would be interesting to see if the EFL had the stomach for their dirty laundry to be aired in public. I wouldn't count on any chickens just yet.

 

 

 


   
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Clive Hurren
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By the way, Werder, I loved your preview, especially the bits about Britt’s jumping and Roberts’ passing! Many thanks for your dedication.


   
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Clive Hurren
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@ken 

I was at that QPR game in 1970! As you say, we were 2 down inside 5 minutes, with the mercurial Rodney Marsh getting one of them, if memory serves. 

Thereafter, Boro simply took QPR apart, inspired by the quite brilliant Hughie McIlmoyle, who won absolutely everything in the air, scored two himself and created several more for Hickton, for Boro to win 6-2. Hughie became a local legend after that, and for years afterwards the game was known as ‘McIlmoyle’s match.’

Incidentally, I was reminded of Hughie earlier this season. I went to see my local side, Chorley, play Halifax in the National League. I stood next to a bloke who saw my Boro badge on my coat and told me he once played in defence for Carlisle United. He played several times alongside Hughie and later Joe Laidlaw. Did you know that Hughie is still considered one of Carlisle’s greatest ever players? Such is his popularity up there that he has his own statue outside Brunton Park! 


   
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Ken Smith
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Posted by: @redcarred

Normally you would hope that seeing the Championship table would be enough to motivate the players but with so many winding down contracts and a few that have never really looked that interested I'm not so sure. Maybe Warnock needs to stick with the younger players who are still under contract and who actually want to stave off relegation for the benefit of their own careers?

That we are relying on Wigan receiving a 12 point deduction tells a sorry tale. I don't think the EFL come out of the Wigan situation with any credibility and indeed if there was some form of push back from Wigan it would be interesting to see if the EFL had the stomach for their dirty laundry to be aired in public. I wouldn't count on any chickens just yet.

 

 I completely agree with you. I sense a touch of schadenfreude from some bloggers on this forum. I hope that Wigan gain enough points from their remaining 5 matches to avoid relegation. If Boro are to rely on Wigan going into administration to save their own skins I find that deplorable. In my opinion if Boro can’t gain enough points on the field of play to finish outside the bottom 3 without the help of Wigan’s predicament, then they deserve to be relegated, though I’m confident that such a scenario won’t happen.

 

 


   
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@john-richardson apparently I’ve heard that a lot of players at QPR  thought the season was over at the start of lockdown and have come back unfit and overweight 


   
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jarkko
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

@john-richardson apparently I’ve heard that a lot of players at QPR  thought the season was over at the start of lockdown and have come back unfit and overweight 

Their form looks like that, OFB, but they cannot be so unprofessional. With the modern technology, the coaches would see that.

I wonder what are you thoughts on the possible result today,  OFB?

We desperately need a win. And as Clive said, we need to survive without any help from Wigan.

Up the Boro! 


   
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@original-fat-bob

That makes me even more nervous...

UTB,

John


   
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@john-richardson.  Yes this is all building into another "typical Boro" match before they have even kicked off.  Let's hope we are wrong! 😎


   
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Thanks for the preview, Werder.

These games are so nervy but made more so as the teams around us keep picking up points in fits and starts.

I still think that wingbacks best suits the squad but I take Werder's point about preparation time, although the group have played that way quite a lot over the past couple of seasons.

Tav's form from the bench deserves a start but I also think that Roberts will continue to be protected, so I expect Tav will continue his role as a sub for the last twenty to thirty minutes. Fletcher has to return. I'm not keen on Fry and Friend as a centre-back pairing. To me, they lack aggression and power and I think Hugill will really fancy bullying that pair.

Team I'd like to see:

Stojanovic

Shotton Moukoudi Fry

Howson Clayton Saville Coulson

Roberts Fletcher Tavernier

 

Team I think Warnock will go for:

Stojanovic

Howson Fry Friend Johnson

McNair Clayton Saville

Roberts Assombalonga Coulson


   
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Ken Smith
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 The bookies have Boro as favourites to win today, mind they also had Boro to beat Hull also. Similarly David Prutton has Boro to win as he also did against Hull, a change of tack for the former Forest and Leeds player as in the past he rarely predicted a Boro win. Now we have so many fans particularly on this forum predicting or fearing a typical Boro defeat. It’s perhaps a good job that today’s match is being played behind closed doors, as a nervous crowd might infest itself on to the players. At least the players won’t be able to feel that tension today when a win might give Boro a lift of 4 places depending of course that Hull don’t win at West Brom. As Neil Warnock has stated Boro should just concentrate on their own performances and not worry about the other relegation candidates as that is outside of our control although I disagree with him that 50 points should see us safe; I’d be happier with at least 51 points.  

Most teams in this relegation battle are able to fight back with a win even after a heavy defeat, and a win one/lose one scenario would see Boro well safe. I’m still confident that Boro will win today, and if they do they could rest some players for the away trip to Millwall and select their preferred eleven for Saturday’s home match against an out of form Bristol City. After 7 winless home matches surely Boro can win at least 2 of the remaining home matches. I’m confident they will do.

This post was modified 4 years ago by Ken Smith

   
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Well I hope Boro have recovered from Super Saturday and don't have a hangover from dropping into the bottom three - Indeed my own head is slightly fuzzy this morning as yesterday I was as usual hand on heart celebrating another star-spangled birthday as my body continues to mark gaining further independence from brain signals and gravity. Unfortunately, due to lockdown group restrictions, Party Part II continues straight after today's game so will hopefully be match-fit in time!

Whether Boro can give me a belated present of three points will depend on taking some of those chances and for me that means Fletcher starting but whether Spence has recovered may prove more of an issue. If Boro defence gift a goal or two to QPR then it's going to be a very nervy last few weeks.

Possible XI

Stojanovic

Howson - Fry - Friend - Johnson

Tavernier - Clayton - Saville

Roberts - Fletcher - Coulson

This post was modified 4 years ago 2 times by werdermouth

   
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@jarkko ⚽️⚽️


   
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Have no idea what is going to happen today. I do think that 3 at the back and 2 up front is the best way of playing to our strengths but if Warnock has basically never played that formation and the team isn't drilled in it then I don't see it happening.

If Spence is out then we have no pace on the right and if we're playing a back 4 with Johnson at left back then we will get torn apart there. There really are no good answers. 

What I would like to see is 3-1-4-2: (assuming Spence and Moukoudi not fit)

Dejan (I think Pears is the better keeper but you don't chop and change keepers)

Shotton Fry Friend 

Howson

Roberts McNair Saville Coulson

Britt Fletcher

 

If we have to play with 4 at the back then 4-1-3-2

Dejan

Howson Shotton Fry Friend (Part of Friend's problem has been coming back from a long injury. I think he could now play a defensive LB position)

McNair

Roberts Tav Saville Coulson (Tav did a good job in central midfield earlier)

Britt Fletcher


   
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