Coventry v Boro
Coventry City v Boro
Kick-Off: Saturday 11th September 2021 - 15:00
So another start to the season, or it feels like that after frenzied activity on the transfer front and then England internationals to fill in our time with no Boro Football.
Some time was expended during this period by Diasborians discussing the decision by the F.A. to caution Marc Bola for allegedly offensive homophobic tweets when he was a 14 years old youth player with Arsenal FC Academy. We all await the decision accordingly, hopefully just a fine, some training regarding interface with all social classes and not a 3 game suspension. Knowing our luck after Boro receiving sanctions and three points deducted for not playing a game which cost us our place in the Premiership, Bola will be banned for the season!
It seems crazy that football in the Championship appears to be rushing from one frenzied game to another sometimes cramming in 3 matches in one week, then a 2 week hiatus whilst the players just train and wait for the next game. Some Premiership clubs had their Argentinian players fly out to Brazil only to be told after 5 minutes play that their Covid isolation was invalid. A wrangling match by officials on the pitch led by the familiar diminutive figure of Juhinho finger wagging in his inimitable style meant the match was abandoned.
Our own Paddy McNair of course represented his country and fortunately for Boro picked up a yellow card which meant he returns to the club early having to miss International games due to suspension. It means he will be fresh and injury free for Saturday.
Special mention must be made of Nathan Wood-Gordon. He is currently on loan to Hibernian, and he captained England U20 this week against Romania in a friendly which resulted in a 6 goals to 1 win for England.
Boro have made an incredible 12 new signings over the transfer period which were sorely needed as we lost a lot of seasoned professionals both club players and loan players during the summer. Neil Warnock needs a big squad if we are challenge for promotion from the Championship this season after falling short just after Xmas last time around.
Boro managed to be productive on deadline day as striker Andraz Sporar and midfielder James Lea Siliki joined the Teessiders from Sporting Lisbon and Stade Rennais respectively. To balance the books we transferred Morsy out for a small fee and loaned Spence out to Nottingham Forest before making sure he signed a 3 year contract with Boro first.
Other newcomers in our squad this season are: Joe Lumley, Sammy Ameobi, (yes we did sign him honestly!) Uche Ikpeazu, Martin Payero, Matt Crooks, Sol Bamba, Lee Peltier, Luke Daniels, Toyosi Olusanya and Onel Hernandez This has resulted in a real mix of players with Championship experience and hopefully new eating arrivals from abroad with dazzling skills to ensure promotion.
At this stage it’s hard for us to forecast how the new players from overseas will perform this season. This also makes it difficult for us Diasborians to predict Boro's strongest side and it will take some time to recognise them on the pitch. Of course al of us will have different opinions and the team will constantly change throughout the season as injuries and suspensions occur. We will probably see the shape and the team change system depending upon whom we play.
So this is how I see Boro’s team on Saturday against Coventry;
My favourite game against Coventry was 1st October 1988 when the Boro under Brice Rioch played the Sky Blues and were involved in a seven goal thriller at Highfield Road.
This saw City score first yet go 4-1 down. A player from each side got a hat-trick and the Sky Blues nearly pulled the game out of the fire but then had to settle for a defeat by the odd goal in seven. David Speedie contributed an immaculate treble of headers but our own Bernie Slaven took the honours confidently netting a 28 minute powerful first half treble (8, 24 & 36 minutes) aided and abetted by Stuart Ripley. Then, what proved to be their winner, came from Marke Burke (56 minutes). What a way for ‘Boro to get their first away win of the season! The Sky Blue fans who made up most of the 14,521 crowd left at the end exhilarated but obviously disappointed by the outcome for Sillett’s men. I remember Slaven and Speedy wresting for the match ball at the end of the game having both scored a hat trick Bernie won it of course and is one of his most memorable games in a Boro shirt
I don’t expect any hat tricks on Saturday as Coventry have made an impressive signing in goal. It’s fair to say Simon Moore has made a good first impression with Coventry City fans. The experienced goalkeeper made a summer switch from relegated Sheffield United and was handed the No.1 shirt by manager Mark Robins the 31-year-old has played his part in the team’s hugely encouraging start to the new Championship campaign.
If the Boro team play to their potential then I am confident of a 2 goal to 1 victory.
So come on you Diasborians let’s be having you ! What’s your forecast for Saturday?
Thanks OFB for kicking the season off again and for an informative pre match read.
Not sure who will start but happy to go with your selection which includes the majority of players who started the season who we can now supplement with plenty of options from the bench.
I will be disappointed if we do not get at least four points from the next two away games, I would hope for three against Coventry and a hard won point at Forest where we tend to struggle. CoB 😎
Thanks for the excellent intro Bob. Much appreciated.
Wot no Jones?
Thanks for getting us all back onto the straight and narrow (no puns intended guys.... OK!) with another good opener.
How the balance levels out between disruption and inspiration with so many new faces in the squad will be interesting to watch pan out.
I think I would like to see young Jones in the starting line up... but who to leave out from OFB's selection? Possibly McNair for me.
Coventry have started life well, back in the Championship. For me they should be a first division side, having been in the top flight throughout all my formative years, so I would be delighted if they are in the mix and get promoted this season..... but not at our expense.
I think this will be one of our toughest matches yet and am less confident of 3 points.... so for me I will go for an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Thanks for the excellent intro Bob. Much appreciated.
Wot no Jones?
You just beat me to that Len!
its a hard decision but who to drop to make way for him?
No Watmore included either !
So no Hernandez and reluctantly put Tav on the right with Jones on the left.
So how does that sound Len?
I also didn’t mention and forgot that the Boro shipped out the unforgettable Akpom !
So no Hernandez and reluctantly put Tav on the right with Jones on the left.
So how does that sound Len?
Thanks for that. Now, after all the worrying, I'll get a good night's sleep tonight.
Coventry Suggested line up
The interesting thing is that for the first time in probably years there is disagreement on who should be in our starting eleven which has to be healthy if we want to achieve the Play Offs.
It's a positive problem to have not only in terms of bodies and mixing things up during games or cover for injuries and suspensions but real competition means that players who do get selected know that there are now two or more players with their eyes on that shirt. A drop in form means they can now be dropped and quickly.
- The interesting thing is that for the first time in probably years there is disagreement on who should be in our starting eleven which has to be healthy if we want to achieve the Play Offs... A drop in form means they can now be dropped and quickly.
- Can be, but it will require the manager to be prepared to do so and not for him to have favourites. So, that will be interesting to see too.
Excellent work, OFB 👏 👏
Very interested to see the line-up against Coventry as we do now have a lot of competition in attacking areas.
With several of the new players short on minutes overall, I wouldn’t be surprised to see quite a “normal” first XI with Jones, Tav and Uche as the front three with Crooks joining in and Howson sitting but the options from the bench will be much improved.
Fingers crossed that the volume of player turnover doesn’t leave us as a team of strangers for long. I’m hopeful that Warnock’s man management can help integrations. Who knows, maybe all the extra time off Warnock seems to give players means they’ll spend more time together socially and build bonds.
In some ways, the season starts now. Interesting that Coventry fans seem, on the whole, quite confident of getting a result against us. I tend to think that newly promoted teams like them will start to struggle after the first international break so I reckon we have a decent shout of a 2-1 win.
Coventry look to play 3-4-3 so I think Warnock might look to match them. I also think that other than possibly Hernandez, we won't see any of the new signings.
My prediction is
Fry Hall McNair
Dijksteel Howson Crooks Jones/Bola
He might Leave Hernandez on the bench and go with Bola as LWB and Jones in a front three with Tav and Uche.
If I were a Coventry fan I too would be confident of beating Boro especially as the Sky Blues are now firmly ensconced in their own city. I think that the best Boro can wish for is a draw, although I have a nagging feeling it will end in tears. City to win 2-0, but then what do I know about anything at all at the moment?
Many thanks to OFB for the match preview and breaking the silence on the fast approaching game as Neil Warnock prepares to send his team to Coventry. There's certainly room for plenty of talk about who will start given all the new arrivals. However, I'm more inclined to think none of Hernandez, Siliki or Sporar are players who are going to start this weekend.
Indeed, my concern is what about Martin Payero? He's been here now for quite a while and surely he's capable of playing a game of football ahead of the other new signings who haven't exactly played much football recently. I'm sure (hope) Boro didn't pay £6m for him so he could be a future prospect - he may be only 22 but age doesn't seem to be a factor for Jones.
With Morsy gone, I'd like to see what Payero can offer in the midfield - he seems to like a tackle and looks physically up to a battle. I'd also like to see Tav retained in his midfield role as he has shown he's got an all-round game who brings others into play - plus I'd make Howson the other midfielder after an impressive performance last time out.
I presume Warnock will continue with a back three and perhaps Jones will continue as left wing-back in order to give the manager more options up top. Dijksteel has so far managed his many roles with competence so likely would be right wing-back.
That for me would make it a 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 depending where in attacking midfield you'd place Tav - with Crooks playing off Ikpeazu at the sharp end. At least we would now have bench that included players who could come on and possibly change the game with Watmore, Toyosi, Hernandez and Sporar or Josh Coburn ready to impress plus Siliki, Bola and Peltier available to change the shape if needed.
Fry - Hall - McNair
Dijksteel - Howson - Payero - Jones
Crooks - Ikpeazu
Prediction: Has to be a win really after the recent dropped points - I'll go 2-0 with Crooks and Tav getting on the score sheet!
Great intro @ofb
According to the report in the Gazette, Coventry play with wingbacks, two men up front with one behind and a deep-lying Brazilian playmaker. The main question for NW will be whether to match their shape or look to take advantage of it. One can argue equally for a 3-4-1-2 or a 4-4-2 so it may come down to whether NW will look to go man to man on the playmaker as he did against Norwich last year when Fisher (I think) nullified Buendia. If he's up to it, I could see Payero doing a job on the Brazilian. That would be a tasty South American battle. If not Payero, perhaps Crooks who can run with anyone and still turn up to help the attack.
In any case, my guess is that he won't start with any of the brand new players with the possible exception of Hernandez who has been training at the club for a couple of weeks. They're just not bedded into the group yet. Having them on the bench gives him a "good times are round the corner" message for the post-match press conference. At best (or worst) I can see Sporar coming on for ten or fifteen minutes if we are chasing a goal or two.
I too sense that this could be a hard game and maybe the best will be a draw obtained by stopping Coventry from playing. Anything more would be a nice surprise.
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It may be of interest to some.
Come on BORO.
Starting with Coventry this weekend, the next 5 games provides Boro with a real chance of shooting up the table.
Coventry , based on their results should be the toughest test whilst the other 4 teams haven’t won a single game. Perhaps a minimum of 10 points should be achievable with anything less being a real disappointment.
So , the challenge to NW is how quickly can he integrate the new players into his team. I don’t expect many, if any, in the starting line up on Saturday as most have had limited playing time this year.
I expect 2or 3 to be on the bench. It seems as though Payero is some way off Championship standard and , if given the choice, I would have preferred to have kept Morsy than to have gambled on a foreign player making the grade.
So, ( as always) it’s not easy forecasting saturday’s result but I’ll go for a draw but hope that Boro might sneak a win.
Philip of Huddersfield
Coventry Newspaper report on the coming game on Saturday
A very good post thre. I cannot add anything except a 2-2 draw with McNair and Fry scoring.
Been travelling abroad all week on business. A bit back to normal as no border control or anyone stopping you on the border. They take randomly a few travellers to check that you carry a vaccination document (you know, no pass port control on the continent 😉). Two restaurants asked the COVID documentation on entrance, though.
I gave technical training to about 80 people in three different towns. So it was nice to see clients after a one and half year break. Happy days.
Up the Boro!
I wonder if Neil Warnock will ultimately decide to play it safe tomorrow (in his head) and instead opt to play McNair in midfield rather than opt for someone like Payero or Siliki. The Boro manager seems willing to take risks on the flanks where he's already blooded Jones and Toyosi plus experimented with Dijksteel but appears more cautious when it comes to central midfield. Perhaps he will give Hernandez a run out in a 4-3-3 - though I'd still rather he sticks with his back three and starts to give Payero a chance to play and at least discover if he's good enough for this level.
looks like Bola is struggling for fitness and is doubtful for tomorrow.
So perhaps Jones may be utilised as a wing back ?
My head says a 2-2 draw for this one tomorrow but Boro really need to start putting points on the board after some very sub par performances against QPR, Derby and Blackburn.
The International break may have done them some good in endeavouring to break the hoodoo plus the arrival of fresh faces will have livened things up a bit I imagine. We do appear to have a less dour and functional squad of players now and have creative options along with a bit of pace and energy. With that positivity in mind I'm going for a 0-2 Boro win to hopefully kickstart our season. Whatever the outcome I just hope we don't see another "Typical Boro" performance.
In all honesty I think that Hartlepool have a better chance of reaching the Division 2 playoffs than Boro have of reaching the Championship playoffs, especially as a top 7 finish for Pools is well within their capabilities. However things are already looking bleak for Darlington. Early days yet of course, but surely any chance of Boro reaching the Premier League this season are really far-fetched. In my opinion it will take at least two more seasons, but it will happen sooner rather than later, but certainly not this season.
This has to be a win or the 'gap' to the apparently better teams will be ever wider. Typical Boro today?
1-1 for me, but with my forecasting skills coupled to Boro's unpredictability and a couple of Warnock surprises who the hell knows?
PS I think Ken sums it up nicely above.
Just to add that Arsenal have no divine right not to be relegated this season. They never gained promotion from the Second Division to the First, but were ‘elected’ in 1919 despite only finishing 6th in their previous season after some shenanigans by the Football League and have never been relegated since. Also in my lifetime even Manchester United have spent one season in the Second Division in 1974/75 ironically the year after Boro had been promoted to the First Division.
Liverpool were First Division champions in 1947 but were relegated along with Boro 7 years later and it took them another 7 years to win promotion back to the First Division although it took Boro rather longer, 20 years in fact.