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Fulham v Boro

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Original Fat Bob
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Fulham v Boro

After the dismal end to another season we all hope at Diasboro that things are going to change and that this will be our promotion push.
The tactics appear to be more fluid with Boro attempting to play the ball forward and not the hopeless passing back to the keeper who would then launch a long kick which would generally end up out of play or with the opposing keeper.

We appear to be playing with a flat back four or wing-backs, at the front and have a three-pronged attack of one striker with two buzzing off him. Uche Ikpeazu who looks a more than adequate replacement for the misfiring and disinterested Britt Assambalonga.

Not sure if we will have another striker signed by Sunday but to be honest there would be nothing to lose by putting young Josh on the bench and giving him a go later in the game. Akpom was a panic buy and has not fitted into the Boro system at all and to be fair he is not a target man. The departed Fletcher always appeared to have the skill set to do well but again appeared to lose interest in playing for our club.

Supporting the main striker from behind we have options in Duncan Watmore, Marcus Tavernier and Matt Crooks.

Warnock after watching the friendly and training videos now seems to prefer the 3-4-3 shape since.

For our defence Grant Hall, Dael Fry and McNair would be my preferred back three and Bola if he’s fit might get a run out as he’s apparently started training again.

Jonny Howson if he’s fit and Sam Morsy could be the midfielders although I do suspect that Howson has lost his legs and doesn’t appear to be the player he used to be.

Hayden Coulson may still leave for Ipswich but if Boro don’t sign a left sided wing-back then he will probably stay. Hands up those that agree with me that Marvin Johnson should have been retained. Although I have heard there was a bit of a bust up between MJ and NW when he wasn’t getting his game.

As for true others in contention the lauded (is that a term for lazy?) Djed Spence played on the left at York but he still seems disinterested. Isaiah Jones plated well at Rotherham but had a damaged nose and possible fractured eye socket in his face.

I don’t know too much about Lee Peltier who apparently is very reliable but not a wing-back and is only a stop gap signing for the season as Warnock wanted to bring some leaders into the team to stiffen up the youthful ranks.

Anfernee Dijksteel seems to be struggling to regain his previous form before becoming injured. As for McNair's role, in Warnock's eyes he was a centre-half but I still think that he’s a better playmaker and more influential player for us in midfield.

We now have Matt Crooks in and Martin Payero so we aren’t short in the middle, Uche Ikpeazu, impressed me during the pre-season games and if we can keep him fit then I expect him to score goals ably assisted by Duncan Whatmore and Tav.

As for Sammy Ameobi he’s an enigma. Brilliant and Baffling and during his loan spell at Boro previously I only rated him in only one game and that isn’t enough for promotion!

So come on you Diasborians let’s have your predictions and scores.

It won’t be eyeballs 👀 in the sky!

OFB


lenmasterman
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Bob, 

A pretty accurate summary of where we are.

Think we could get stuffed at Fulham with one team trying to play football, and the other attempting to stop them. As usual I expect to be torn between my love of the game, and my support for my team.


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K P in Spain
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OFB, I can only echo Len's comments in that you have made a very fair assessment and summary as to where we presently stand; I also fear that we could be embarrassed at Fulham and suspect for most of the game it will be backs to the wall and we may find out how good (or not) our new keeper is!

I agree with you that McNair is better in midfield, he may look good striding forward out of defence but when we are under pressure he is often a weak link and when faced one on one, backs off and concedes space and allows crosses.  

We need specialists in defence not makeshift defenders; we no longer have the best defence in the league, in part through using square pegs in round holes.

I agree that MJ should have been retained. By January he was top scorer/provider and then benched to make way for NW's mate and NK from Fulham; neither of whom proved to be a significant upgrade on what MJ had been providing.

⚽️-⚽️ at best but more likely that Fulham will score 2/3 without reply. CoB prove me wrong. 😎

This post was modified 2 months ago by K P in Spain

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K P in Spain
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MFC website now providing details of video and audio pass details for the 2021/22 season. 

£170 for a video/audio season pass. Despite all my misgivings I have just purchased my season pass. 😎


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Andy R
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Cheers OFB. Here we go again, eh?

It’s difficult to see anything other than Fulham dominating possession and controlling the game or Warnock setting up to attempt anything other than a “smash and grab”. A stern test of our organisation, determination and concentration to start the new season.

Can we hit them on the break and get something from the game? Maybe.

Hoping for that smash and grab or a dogged draw but I certainly won’t be putting any money on it.

There’s always hope.

 


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jarkko
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

MFC website now providing details of video and audio pass details for the 2021/22 season. 

£170 for a video/audio season pass. Despite all my misgivings I have just purchased my season pass. 😎

I have to say I didn't find the place where the purchasing can be done. I spent 10 to 15 min surfing on the mfc.co.uk pages earlier today. 

I did found the info and how to link up, but missed the place where to purchase. Luckily there is time as the Fulham game is most propably on TV in here.

Up the Boro!

This post was modified 2 months ago by jarkko

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werdermouth
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Thanks for starting us off with the preview OFB and I suspect many Boro followers will not be expecting to come away from Craven Cottage with much in the way of points - though this makes the game something of a free hit for Neil Warnock as he won't suffer too much flack if his team return empty-handed.

As yet there's no further movement on the transfer front and also not much update on the current injuries. I suspect if Martin Payero is indeed a Boro player then he'll probably start on the bench at Fulham - he should after all be match fit after playing in the Olympics.

The main question mark is over the extent of Tavernier's hamstring injury - if it's only a grade 1 then he should be fit next week as it would be too much of a risk to play him at Fulham - however, if it's the more serious grade two then that rules him out for August, which is essential mid-September as the international break starts after the 28th of this month.

Interestingly, another injury worry, Marc Bola, is actually missing because he's been absent due to Covid quarantine - so I'm hopeful he may well be fit for Fulham. That would certainly make life easier for the Boro manager in whatever formation he opts for.

Up front we'll probably see Watmore and Crooks playing either side of Ikpeazu with Morsy in midfield - wouldn't be surprised to see McNair in midfield if Howson is still not match-fit - that would mean a back three of Fry, Hall and either Dijksteel or even Sol Bamba if he's given a contract - much will depend on if Spence gets the nod at wing-back against his old club.

Perhaps, it's as good a time as any to play Fulham at their place - they'll not be firing on all cylinders after adjusting to a new manager in Silva. OK, on paper they have much better players than Boro but I'm sure Warnock will want to make sure they don't get time on the ball to allow their class to dictate the play - I'm expecting Boro to press and hussle and use the physical presence of Ikpeazu, Crooks, Fry, Hall and possibly Bamba to keep them on the back foot.

Nil-Nil wouldn't be a bad result - especially for those like me who can't watch the game as I'm heading off on the first of two camping holidays on Sunday - in fact I'm likely to to miss all of Boro's games in August so I'll won't be picking up matters until after the international break when the team could well be a different animal if transfer deals work out! Others can make their own mind up over what animal that is - hopefully nothing involving a donkey, lame or even missing it's left leg...


werdermouth
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

MFC website now providing details of video and audio pass details for the 2021/22 season. 

£170 for a video/audio season pass. Despite all my misgivings I have just purchased my season pass. 😎

Now that MFC I think are part of iFollow, the prices are pretty much out of their hands but I note that a matchday pass is now £10 - double what it used to be only a few seasons ago! The season pass has also gone up by quite a chunk, I paid €170 last time but it's now £170, which is more less €200 give or take a few coins. 

OK, as mentioned I will probably miss the first 5 games due to being away on holiday - plus I lost count of the number of games that weren't available due to being chosen for TV coverage in Europe - which may well be more then last season if Boro are in the mix.

I think I paid £117 three years ago for an early-bird season pass, which wasn't a big decision as it was more or less a hundred pound purchase - whereas €200 sounds like a big purchase - especially as I stopped watching the live streams once Boro games were dead rubbers. I don't have to think about it until the end of the month but it could be a hard decision if Boro get off to a bad start.


Selwynoz
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@werdermouth

I understand how you feel. The streaming pass was Pds140 last year and has now just gone up by Pds30. However, I have tended to calculate that, even with the time difference to Sydney which moves the games to 2.00 am for a lot of the season and, say, 5-10 games a year on Sky blackout, I will watch at least 20 games a year on the service which makes it cheaper - and much more convenient - than match day passes. I just wish that there was an easy way to record the matches for times when I really don't fancy staying up. I'm also hoping that I don't come to regret my optimism in suggesting that Boro will be worth watching. 

In any case, as luck would have it, we start with the Fulham game which drops very neatly into my Pay TV service courtesy of BeIn sports and will be nicely positioned in Sydney at 10.30pm on Sunday, just after  the Olympics have finished.

I'm hoping that we don't lose but would be pleasantly surprised if that turns out to be the case, particularly if Tav isn't yet fit to play.

UTB


Liked by 4 people: jarkko, Original Fat Bob, werdermouth and lenmasterman
 
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jarkko
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Yes, I think it is a good time to play Fulham now. They have been relagated recently and had a new manager installed resently (at least Boro used to start badly with a new manager - even our most succesful one Steve McClaren at Arsenal). I bet they still need to sell a few players to keep the squad resonably size wise and the new manager will want changes. So the players are edgy.

One of the toughest matches to start with, but Fulham could yet be a bit confused about the late change in management. Hopefully.

Knowing Neil Warnock,  we will be fighting from the beginning and have a good team spirit - at least compared from a recently relagated team. According to Dael Fry we have even better changing room camradie than last season.

Beside we do not have many injuries - none for the main players except Tavanier short term. With him fit, I would have even predected a suprice win.

So we a lacking a left back if Bola won't be fit and Tavernier is a big miss. Hence I will go for a 1 - 1 draw now. Watmore putting us head before half time from an Ikpeazu knock down.

Generally I expect us to finish in the top six in May. I guess is 5th. But you know me - always optimistic about Boro. I think a fan must be like that, mustn't him?

So the Boro is going up. For Ken. Up the Boro! 


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jarkko
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When will we announce the squad numbers and/or unveil Martin Payero? 

Also I wonder if Neil Warnock will have the Fulham press conference today or on Friday? They must be travelling to London on Saturday already.

I hope the press will ask the right questins about avalibility of Tavanier and Bola. And about next transfers including Payero ...

I hope Payero will be free from carantine soon. Up the Boro! 


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K P in Spain
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@jarkko. When you go to the website you will see at the top of the page "Match day Live", click on that and the next page will enable you to purchase your pass. 😎


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K P in Spain
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@werdermouth.  I still thought Riverside Live was an MFC production and I have not seen any announcement that they had joined iFollow but you may have seen something I have missed.

I hope you and the family have a lovely and safe holiday and that by the time you catch up on everything Boro will be sitting on top of the table! 😎


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werdermouth
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@k-p-in-spain

No you're right KP, I just checked the iFollow website and it lists Boro as one of the clubs who are independent from iFollow. Though it seems they've now adopted the same pricing policy as iFollow - just checking some of the other clubs who are independent (which is over half of the Championship), £10 seems now standard for a match pass - perhaps there is an agreement on that. However, I notice a season pass for Bristol City is only £140 and Blackburn also have an early-bird price of £140.

btw I just found this on Reading's site, which seems to state that pricing is not set by the clubs...

Please be aware that availability and prices of all audio or video passes are determined by the EFL according to their broadcast rights in the UK and internationally, and that these will apply to all clubs in the Sky Bet Championship – whether or not they use iFollow or their own service (such as RoyalsTV).

Maybe clubs must charge a minimum of £140 and a maximum of £170 for a season pass


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Redcar Red
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I think Sunday's game at Fulham is a bit of a free hit for Boro. The difference between the two squads is night and day and shows just how big the gap is not only between the Championship and the Premiership but between the Championship and those Clubs with Parachute payment enhanced squads (unless you are Boro of course).

On paper Fulham should enjoy a walk in the Park but Warnock's sides don't capitulate easily and will no doubt put up some stubborn resistance. There are always one or two sides who can't adjust to the rigours of the Championship and fall from grace like ourselves and I suspect Fulham could be one of those sides if it doesn't click and fall into place quickly. West Brom and the Blades I feel are better equipped for a season of scrapping, time will tell if the Cottagers finesse will get them back up.

I predict a draw with Fulham being somewhat under par and Boro bruising their way (courtesy of a few yellow cards) to a point. For Karma believers perhaps the Muniz saga will allow for a Boro win and all three points. 


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Redcar Red
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Interesting and fun quiz below. Have to admit that some games I remembered vividly and others I have scant if any recollection of at all. The Reading game was the one where our Argentinian Makem maestro was injured and things went pear shaped in the second half for Gareth if I recall correctly yet the Barnsley and Pompey games are a blank.

https://footballleagueworld.co.uk/quiz-can-you-remember-the-score-from-middlesbroughs-last-15-opening-day-matches/


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deleriad
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Normally you think playing a relegated club for their first match is a great time to get at them following a relegation hangover. This time though, with fans able to show up, I suspect the lift from that will easily balance out any such hangover. Plus there's a feel that we may still be suffering a hangover from a poor end to the season. Given all that, I can easily see a routine win for Fulham, especially if they score early.

We're also suffering from pre-season injuries so I suspect that against Fulham we'll go to 4 at the back despite hardly using it in pre-season. Given likely injuries I suspect we'll line up

Lumley

Dijksteel - Hall - Fry - Peltier

McNair - Morsy - Howson

Watmore - Crooks

Ikpeazu

It's horribly lacking in width, pace and creativity but if everyone's on their game and Fulham don't get going we could grind our way to a draw.


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Ken Smith
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Thanks OFB for an excellent preview of Sunday’s match and I agree with most opinions that a draw will be a good result, but as ever our Finnish correspondent’s optimism gives us all encouragement. Surely he’s taken over as Boro’s famous optimist since the much loved Alistair Brownlee. Faith, hope and love, these three but according to St Paul’s sermon to the Corinthians the greatest of these is love, and whilst we all ‘love’ the Boro that goes without saying, ‘faith’ is the least most of us think of when following the Boro. So like most of us Ii’ll settle for ‘hope’  as in the history of Boro that seems the best option.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Ken Smith

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K P in Spain
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@werdermouth.  I think your are correct and that clubs are required to work to a minimum/maximum price set by the EFL.

If you say we watch 34 matches via Riverside Live (probably slightly on the low side) this equates to  £5 per match which in my view is a reasonable price when we are unable to get to home and away games.

Having left Stockton in my late teens the opportunity to now watch my team from the comfort of my armchair both home and away is something I find difficult to forego despite the somewhat turgid performances seen over recent years.  It is in the blood! 

Let's all hope for better performances this time round. 😎


Liked by 4 people: Ken Smith, jarkko, Original Fat Bob and Selwynoz
 
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jarkko
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

@jarkko. When you go to the website you will see at the top of the page "Match day Live", click on that and the next page will enable you to purchase your pass. 😎

Thanks, mate. I was just clicking those red squares back and forth. Dear me, might need a white stick next time around.

Up the Boro!


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jarkko
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@ken  I have seen many pundits agreeing with me, too. But I think it is the Warnock factor in their case. I expect Boro to win most matches but for some reason I do not get down if we don't win always. 

I think this positive comes from seeing Boro through 1986 when I drove over from Finland to Hartlepool to see the first match with my future-to-be wife.

In early 2000's, I lost my local team in Finland when they went bankrupt after a Chinese take over. We had season cards for that team for years but now we do not have any local teams above 4th tier anymore. Tå

Up the Boro!


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Ken Smith
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KP in Spain  

Stockton Town FC have done really well with 3 promotions in 5 years, but Redcar Athletic’s progression during that same period of 2 promotions whilst creditable has hit the buffers as I feared wth a 7-0 defeat at North Shields last night and in one way undone all the good work that the Redcar Bears Speedway teams two wins in successive nights last weekend over Newcastle Diamonds had given me something to brag about. It may be inconsequential to most Teessiders but whatever the sport I love to see Teesside beating Tyneside at any sport as it goes back to the old ‘Shoot’ football TV programmes of the late 50s. 


Ken Smith
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Jarkko

Condolences for losing your Finnish football team. It’s actually a bereavement, and it almost happened to Boro in 1986. Well done for supporting Boro, as most ‘foreigners’ throughout the World would have placed their allegiance to Manchester United especially since the Munich Air Disaster. You’re no longer classsed as a ‘foreigner’ to us, but a true Teessider/Clevelander/Yorkshireman so as you finish your contributions with “Up the Boro” I’ll reciprocate those sentiments.

 

 


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K P in Spain
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@ken. Yes Ken I keep an eye on how my old town club are doing.  As a teenager I used to alternate between attending Stockton games and Boro games as often the Boro were away when Stockton were at home.

Happy times/memories and good to know that the local teams are still thriving. 😎


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werdermouth
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Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

If you say we watch 34 matches via Riverside Live (probably slightly on the low side) this equates to  £5 per match which in my view is a reasonable price when we are unable to get to home and away games.

OK, in comparison to actually paying to turn up at the ground, then £5 a game is definitely cheap (probably would cost well over £1000 in tickets to physically pay to enter the home and away grounds). However, it's just an online subscription to watch a live stream, which only a few seasons ago clubs were able to deliver a match-pass for £5 a game but now are charging £10. I doubt the cost of delivering the service has increased by much so it's simply inflation based on what no doubt market research has discovered - i.e. football fans are prepared to pay a tenner to watch their club. It's basically why the likes of Sky and others are making a lot of money - football fans will often pay a premium to follow their team!


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Powmill-Naemore
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Struggling to be enthusiastic again as the big kick off approaches. To be honest it is as much to do with having so much on my plate domestically and at work as it is with the disappointment of seeing LW and MJ away. Payero does bring me a flicker of hope, but he is an unknown quantity. I hope he will impress.

As for Fulham. They seem to be all the pundits' favourites to bounce straight back up. I am not so convinced. Silva doesn't really have a sparkling record in England and I think has flattered to deceive at both Hull and Watford, and really at Everton too for me. So, just relegated and having to adapt to the new manager's tactics, I think they will be vulnerable on Sunday. I fancy us to come away with a good scoring draw...1-1. I will even give us an outside chance of stealing a late winner.

So. Come on Boro. Surprise us all.

This post was modified 2 months ago 3 times by Powmill-Naemore

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werdermouth
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@powmillnaemore

I think you have a point about Silva, he's never really lived up the hype and has seen his tenure at Hull, Watford and Everton end in failure - his win rate at Everton was actually only a few percent higher than that at Hull despite spending a lot of money. The other issue is that Scott Parker was quite a popular manager with his players, whereas Silva looks a bit more of a distant personality. No doubt the players are still adjusting and it will be interesting to see if their team spirit is as good - especially if they don't get off to the start their favourites tag demands.


Selwynoz
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@k-p-in-spain

I know the feeling. Having lived away for so long, I'm irresistibly drawn to watching them when I can 


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Andy R
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Marco Silva and Neil Warnock could barely be more different.

Silva burst onto the scene as a dynamic, young, attack-minded, possession enthusiast but his man-management ability has been questioned and his previous five appointments have lasted only a year or so. Whilst his style of play is in keeping with Fulham's blueprint, I do wonder if he's the right man to lift a club that has just been relegated and lost a popular manager. I would quite like to have played them later in the season after the potential rot has set in!

Warnock - well, the exact opposite. Some of NW's jobs have been short-lived but they have been pure fire-fighting appointments that generally ended with survival and a separation on good terms.

Fulham ought to be a very good side at Championship, make no mistake, but as I said in my earlier post, there's always hope.

As is so often the case, the first goal is massive.


werdermouth
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Neil Warnock has given an update on some injured players this morning - it's possible both Tavernier and Bola could be passed fit to play against Fulham and they'll be assessed in the next 48 hours. Though it may be too much of risk for Tav if they're not 100% sure and may be better to give him another week. Bola will train for the first time today so he may not be exactly match-fit but options are limited.

It also seems Ameobi is still not any better than he was three weeks ago with his knee seemingly regularly flaring up and the club can't seem to stop it doing so - it sounds like he'll be a long-term absentee until they get to the bottom of the problem.

Coulson is also still out but that is actually down to him having Covid - perhaps he caught from Bola in the treatment room but it seems there's a bit flying around at Rockcliffe.

So with Isaiah Jones still recovering from his knock, the left side is still a problem - Warnock will assess his option after stating: "I know Bola's training so we'll have a look how fit he is. Pelts (Lee Peltier) has played on that side, Djiksteel's played on that side before so we'll just have a look in training and I'm sure we can come up with something."


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