Huddersfield v Boro
Kick-off: Saturday 27 November - 15:00
So after the new dawn was well and truly put to bed the other night, has the sunshine disappeared from our season? Of is there a ray of light for some sunbeams to start glowing brightly within our team? Wilder will be giving some players heat regarding their performances trying to act independently of a team formation.
We had a young Frankenstein team in the second half composed of different fragments and disjointed. Not a great body of a team and no fangs for the memory of a dreadful second half performance.
Looking at Werdermouth’s metrics for gaining a play off spot by attaining a two points per game average This target looks out of reach for our team based on the current squad and even if Boro bring in additional players in the transfer window it looks a tough task.
From winning positions this season, Boro have gone on to drop 16 points in the Championship. That is the difference between promotion and relegation for some team. Also, that is only by the end of November.
They were leading 1-0 against Queens Park Rangers before going on to lose the game 3-2 at the Riverside Stadium. It’s been a happy hunting ground for teams who fall behind in the game as Blackpool and Preston also inflicted a similar result on the Boro. We shouldn’t forget that Luton Town also came from behind to beat Boro scoring three goals in five second half minutes to kill the game off.
The extra 16 points would have put them level on 40 points with second placed Bournemouth.
Obviously we have all remarked on the fitness of the team which shows a marked difference between the first and second half performances of the players. Unfortunately when the Championship games come thick and fast every week it’s difficult to get fitness conditioning into the training regime. Normally at this time of the season it’s a light training session and attending to all the bumps, scrapes and knocks from the many games being played . There's clearly a physical explanation for the difference in the performance and improving the conditioning of the squad is something Wilder and his coaching team will work on. But resilience - or lack of it - is also an issue.
Watmore, Crooks and Sporar were all carrying injuries the other evening and with such a small squad of experienced players, they had to play. Watmore had to come off in the second half and no obvious replacement for him on the bench.
The team plan carefully drawn up by Wilder and his coaching staff was adhered to by the players in the first half but then the plan was ripped up and forgotten! As a lot of us know the 5 P’s are used in the business world to remind us of how to achieve our goals as PLANNING PREVENTS P*SS POOR PERFORMANCE!
There is no doubt that Wilder will be reminding players of their collective team duties over the next few days and hopefully we will not see a similar performance from this team again.
Turning to our game on Saturday away against Huddersfield Town it proves to be a difficult fixture for us when we are in such a transformative state.
Despite the poor showings at home, Boro will be taking a lot of fans using their full ticket allocation for the game. New manager bounce has disappeared but I expect our manager to bounce some players for the game and freshen up the squad.
Tavernier who is apparently attracting interest from Leeds United is definitely not playing a team game and drew thinly disguised criticism from Wilder at the Preston post match press conference. Others that come into the realm of not being part of the team play include Hernandez and in the Second Half Sporar was guilty of doing his own thing. Jones whilst still emerging as man of the match was also guilty of being over generous with his attempts to take players on, wait for them to regroup and do it again usually unsuccessfully.
I expect to see the recall of Dael Fry and Dijksteel for the game on Saturday as both players provide energy and whilst Sol Bamba has had some good performances, he has faded understandably during the second half of games due to his age and tired limbs.
Paddy is seeming to relish his roaming centre back role under Wilder and is more dangerous in the box receiving headers than taking them. His goal on Tuesday was good and his free kick whilst powerful and on target was at a good height for the keeper to make a save.
It’s been a better start to the Terriers’ season than anyone could reasonably have expected despite losing Wednesday night one-nil against QPR - and here’s a link of the stats from that game.
Their most impressive win of the season which came on Saturday as third-placed West Bromwich Albion were defeated courtesy of Danel Sinani’s early goal. The Luxembourger joined on loan from Norwich City late in pre-season but has never played for the Canaries. He was loaned out to Belgian side Waasland-Beveren last term. English football is different, notoriously different. It was always going to take time for the inside-forward to adapt and it looks like he is getting there.
Midfielder Lewis O'Brien was linked with a move to Leeds United in the summer transfer window and says it was difficult to ignore. But after weeks of talks, no deal was ever agreed due to the Whites’ unwillingness to meet the asking price.Instead, the 23-year-old put pen to paper on a new deal at Town in September to put an end to any doubt surrounding his immediate future at the John Smith’s Stadium.
I’m still going to be positive about the game on Saturday and I’m going for a Boro win 1-0
Up The Boro
Great piece, OFB. Thank you.
Whilst I think Wilder will definitely hammer home some key messages to the lads for Saturday’s game, which MUST result in an improved performance, I can’t see us doing better than a draw. So I’ll go for a fingers crossed 1-1.
Thanks OFB for you intro - much appreciated.
I am very despondent at the moment following Tuesday's performance which really summed up for me what has been happening over recent seasons.
You can change the manager, you can change the system but if players do not deliver then you are not going to get anywhere near the top of the table.
It was good to see the passing and movement in the first half but the problem was it produced little by way of goals, chances were not taken and we again displayed our fragility at the back; in my view we have a lightweight defence which is a long way from the best defence in the league we had under Karanka and Pulis.
The defence is the foundation on which good teams are built and I am not convinced that playing with wingbacks, who are not really wingbacks, is working and we need to get back to specialists Centre Backs and Fullbacks if CW is going to build a team which can truly challenge at the top.
I believe that too much is being asked from some players, which impedes their overall contribution, whilst others are not making a substantive team contribution and hopefully CW has identified and will address this.
As for Saturday, it truly hurts me to say that I can't see anything other than a win for Huddersfield unless there are some significant changes and improvements in performances and attitudes; hopefully OFB will be right and DF will be back to bolster a fragile defence. CoB 😎
Thanks for the opener OFB and introducing us to the revised 5P mnemonic formerly known as Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance - though not to be confused with another mnemonic: Second Half Inferior Tactical Execution that appears to have left Boro's promotion aspirations up the proverbial creek with no paddle in sight!
At least Stoke's defeat last night kept the gap to sixth down to eight points - though incidentally with Boro picking up just 2 points from their last 5 games it may be worth mentioning that Stoke have managed 10 points in those 5 games, which it wouldn't take a math's O-Level to figure out how that 8-point gap has been achieved.
Boro have dropped eight points in their last three home games against Birmingham, Millwall and Preston - matches that could easily have been won if the players had been better focused and taken their chances. It's frustrating to see the play-off's slip out of our grasp against teams who really should only be leaving the Riverside with nothing but a disappointing journey home!
Hopefully, Chris Wilder laying down the law will be a light-bulb moment for some of the players and many would like to see him follow through with his threat of a hard spell on the bench for those who seek the individual glory of seeing their name in lights on the Boro stage.
Quite simply, Boro need to start winning games if the season isn't to become just preparation for the next one - plus any chance of attracting ambitious players on loan in January will fade unless they can see a potential challenge at the right end of the table.
On that basis, I will predict a win on Saturday and hopefully Boro won't add to the those 16 points dropped from winning positions - surely a sign of a season being squandered if ever there was one. There were signs in midweek of better times under Wilder, while at the same still seeing the reasons why Boro needed to replace their manager in mid-season.
Press reporting a certain Mr Warnock is being considered for blades manager after they sack current manager 🙄
Huddersfield seem to be pretty inconsistent and I feel that we could catch them on an off-day at the weekend. I can imagine this being a 0-0, something we have only done once this season. I think it might take more games than we expect to get a win under Wilder. Historically it takes new managers quite some time to de-program teams that Warnock has managed. Same is true of Pulis* teams and if you figure that Woodgate doesn't really count, Wilder has several years worth of re-programming to do. I reckon he'll manage it but not in time to beat Huddersfield.
*Yet another reason why Woodgate really was handed an impossible job without the skills, experience or support to succeed at it.
I prefer your mnemonic to mine and I must confess I use mnemonics to improve my memory these days.
Perhaps Wilder needs to spend some more time with the players because at the moment they are Coached Rested And Playing !
We need to get rid of some Weak And Not Keen Employees Rather Soon !
Wonder what OFB means ?
@original-fat-bob Only a Fool Buys - like a season card?
Seriously, I don't think the Riverside is a fortress yet. As we - the Boro - are our worst enemies at the moment with the second half performances, I don't care much if we are home or away.
We have to find some form and consistency. Let's concentrate on our own performance first. If we play well for 90 min, the results will follow.
So I hope OFB (what ever that means, Robin) is correct this time around. 0 - 1 to Boro with a Sporar goal on the 33rd min. And especially so, a clean sheet in the second half!
Up the Boro!
That is good move. Let's think long term. Up the Boro!
Watched the QPR against Huddersfield last night on Sky and was impressed by how quickly both teams moved the ball around. They certainly looked fitter and more capable than the players - Boro v Preston. A close game which QPR just edged with Huddersfield unlucky not to equalise in the last minute.
The Huddersfield manager has come from Leeds and is following the Leeds way of playing - fast pace , lot of movement and a pressing style. This is the coach’s first full season and I think that with the squad he has , he is over achieving as they were tipped to be nearer the bottom of the League but are just outside the top 6. The player to watch is O’Brian - a real box to box player who is strongly tipped to be a Premiership player very soon.
I would settle for a draw but that would be 3 games under CW , without a win and so not good enough.
Reinforcements are being talked about in January but they rarely ever achieve much usually because they haven’t played much and probably view the move as short term.
It also looks that any new new players will be of the tried and tested type familiar to CW rather than players for the longer term.
Hardly exciting times for Boro supporters .
Philip of Huddersfield
Shaun Wilson, a club historian, tweeted me this photo from the Nottm Forest match day programme. League Cup 1979/80.
Yes, it is me. In 1980 I went to see my first match at Ayresome Park. Happy days and exciting. My last name is Lehtinen, though!
As ever, up the Boro!
Sounds like lazy journalism based on social media speculation that Warnock is ex-Blades and recently departed Boro - the story of a Warnock return seems to stem from a Tweet by Talksport presenter Alex Crook who said his mate Alan Biggs thinks Neil Warnock would be keen on an emotional return. Warnock is not even mentioned by the local paper Sheffield Star as an option. It actually appears Paul Heckingbottom is to be installed as manager for the foreseeable future as apparently the club is broke and it is suggested not many managers would fancy working for the Sheffield United board.
The things people had to go through before the internet was invented 😉
@philip-of-huddersfield. It sounds as if we could be in for a torrid afternoon! 😓😎
@werdermouth looks like lazy journos as you say Paul Heckingbottom has been given the reins evidently
Thanks for the great opener Bob.
Surely you meant to say "Planning Prevents Poor Pass Performance!" , but then again, perhaps you were right first time.
I think I am relieved we haven't had that new manager bounce of a couple of straight wins.
If we had had that, it might have deflected from some of the underlying issues there are with this collection of players. As it is, the new boss is under no illusions about how fragile we are and so can take the steps to deal with that now. Recalling Wood is one good example of him doing just that, with the foresight to have him de-Hibernised and up to speed with Boro team-mates and the Wilder way to play before he is eligible for first team duties in January.
Many comments about how poor we have been defensively. But to be fair, we have been unable to field all of what might have been the first choices at the back for a large part the season to date. The whys and wherefores of that do not matter so much now, but as Fry and Dijksteel come back to fitness soon (will they really be available on Saturday?) I think we should expect to see some tightening up at the back and a better chance of hanging on to any points we could be winning close to the end of a match.
We are only 8 or 9 points adrift of 6th place. It is a poor league this season. So we could project anticipated points for all the teams now based on their current standing and conclude we need a minimum of 2 points a game to be in with any chance. However, I think the form of many of the teams above us now will be so fickle as to allow any one team that finds a reasonable run of form between now and the end of the season to be right in there. Over recent years the lowest points for the team in 6th place was 70. Assuming something similar this season (because it is a poor league) would leave Boro needing an average of 1.74 points per game. CW's challenge is to get the team into that run of form to achieve that or better. It might be a tall order, but it is certainly still possible.
So, I think the new manager bounce is now over and we will now fall back into the pattern of play and results we will all come to expect of the WIlder era and so I am confident of us picking up all three points by a hard earned 2 goal margin.
Thanks, chaps, for the posts above which have provided an interesting diversion as darkness begins to fall in North Yorkshire. I also have enjoyed the posts in the previous theads over the last couple of weeks or so - certainly more than the football.
Tomorrow the weather is expected to take a turn for the worse. So the BBQ this lunchtime/afternoon, in the late November sunshine (it wasn't particularly warm but it was sunny), was the highlight of the day and probably for the rest of this week!
Before going to the North West Highlands on 14th November, I bought a stock of Chestnuts. I forgot about them and therefore sent a message to son-and-heir from Scotland to remind him where they were, and asking him to use them. He didn't do so! As a result, after cooking the meats on the BBQ I put the chestnuts on for a tasty little afternoon snack. I have tried about 6 of them and 2 were edible! Mrs Dormo and son-and-heir had a similar experience with their share. Lesson: cook & eat chestnuts soon after purchase rather than leaving them in England when you go to Scotland. The two I had were nice, but it was a letdown to note the proportion of duds resulting from the delay in using them.
So, a glass of pinot noir without its accompaniment....
Might need a second glass to get over the disappointment.
Perhaps if the football doesn't show much improvement, Alcoholics Anonymous may need extra staff in the Teesside area.
@powmillnaemore: Love your confidence, Powmill. I HOPE for three points but wouldn't say I'm CONFIDENT we'll get them! Good points in your posts, though.
Although I've not heard that story before I'm still tempted to say that old chestnut...
I, OFB and Powmill have been a bit optimistic about getting a result tomorrow. Perhaps we should have not been.
Huddersfield have conceded just four more goals in their eight home games since the opening week of the season, keeping six clean sheets. They've not conceded at home since September.
Boro also need to be aware of the threat Town pose from set pieces. Ten of the 23 goals they've scored in all competitions have been from dead balls.
So we know what to expect now. If we score a goal, we are lucky. But as I said earlier, we still need to be more worried about us. How we will play as a team.
Let's hope we play well the full 90 mins. Then the results will follow start to follow. Up the Boro!
It may help you stay positive if I were to add that three of those four home games since September were against Hull, Birmingham and Millwall - who are not known for scoring many and have all netted fewer goals than Boro. The other team was West Brom who they beat last time out but the Baggies are going through a lean spell having scored only 2 goals in their last five with just one win against Hull. Also Huddersfield have not won away since September so are not unbeatable.
- Hull played Huddersfield during a run where they failed to score in seven successive away games.
- Birmingham played Huddersfield during a run of seven games where they'd only scored in one away game (against Boro)
- Millwall have only scored more than once away from home in one game this season.
- West Brom have only scored one goal in their last five away games.
The BBC report that it’s 10 years since Gary Speed committed suicide, but what makes someone like him do that? A loving family with two boys, how can someone do something like that? What triggered it off? He was lauded for the renaissance of Welsh football, but I can’t understand how he has been made out to become a hero. I’m sorry if that seems harsh, but contrast with Leicester Tigers coac
The BBC report that it’s 10 years since Gary Speed committed suicide, but what makes someone like him do that? A loving family with two boys, how can someone do something like that? What triggered it off? He was lauded for the renaissance of Welsh football, but I can’t understand how he has been made out to become a hero. I’m sorry if that seems harsh, but contrast with Leicester Tigers coach and former Leeds Rhinos player Kevin Sinfield who has just completed the equivalent of 7 marathons in 24 hours to raise £1.6M for MND in honour of his friend and former colleague Rob Burrow who is suffering from this terrible illness.
I’m generally not in favour of sportsmen receiving knighthoods for performances on the field of play, but acknowledge those that do charitable work. Nevertheless there’s a world of difference donating to charities and those putting their bodies through purgatory to raise funds for charities. I’m sure Kevin Sinfield hasn’t done this for personal esteem, but for the love of his best friend, a David and Jonathan friendship.
Kevin Sinfield deserves a knighthood in the New Year’s honours list and is a hero as is his friend Rob Burrow, but I make no apologies stating that in my opinion Gary Speed whatever the circumstances was certainly not.
@ken Why would you doubt his hero status, Ken? He didn’t “commit” suicide, he died of suicide, a subtle difference that takes away the notion that he’s committed a sin or a crime.
Suicide in men is a massive issue - this article is full of facts: https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/research-policy/middle-aged-men-suicide/
Any of us pondering over why Wilder couldn't work with the hierarchy at Sheffield United have a read of this bearing in mind that its a local paper trying very hard to be non judgemental.
None of us can ever know what state of mind Gary Speed was in at the time and I sincerely hope none of us ever experience that state of mind, because whatever it was it has to have been absolutely terrible. I think it is wrong for those of us who don't know (which is everyone but Gary himself) to pass a judgement on his passing and we should all have immense sympathy that for whatever reason, he felt compelled to do this, and for those that loved him he left behind.
He is lauded in Wales for having restored pride and purpose and belief in Welsh football. All the more remarkable he could do that while keeping his demons at bay. All the more "heroic" if you like, that despite everything that was not right for him, he could do that.
It is perhaps a little disingenuous to compare Speed with Kevin Sinfield. What Sinfield has done is quite remarkable, and this was not the first challenge he set himself to raise funds and awareness both for Rob Burrow, but also for MND sufferers generally. Yes, I would agree his efforts have been heroic. But there are many different kinds of people who are heroes and for a host of different reasons. Not being strong enough (finally) to face up to and contain your demons does not in anyway make other unrelated things you have done not important or not heroic. I am quite sure Kevin Sinfield is not a perfect human being (which one of us is?) and I am sure there will be things he has done and said in his time that he might wish he had done or said differently. None of us is perfect, not even a hero.
Finally, remembering Gary Speed and how he came to meet his end is important to remember and to hope there is raised awareness and support for individuals like him that might be helped through their crises and hopefully save more lives. Perhaps some people might even consider that to be a little heroic as well...
After 2 seasons in the PL where they didn't back Chris Wilder financially and now with three years of parachute payments coming their way, the board are seemingly claiming poverty after receiving over £220m in prize money and around £83m in parachute payments to come. If I was a Blades fan I'd be wondering how the board have used that £300m and why a switch to promoting youth is the new plan.
Ken, Martin & Powmill,
Something went wrong at my end and when I pressed "send" to the post I had intended. It simply disappeared. I will have another go. It won't be word for word the same but should give the same message.
We will never know exactly what went through Gary Speed's mind when he acted, any more than we will ever know exactly what went through the mind of David Bairstow when HE acted, or the minds of others in that position. I put to one side the cases where a person is suffering a painful and/or terminal illness which I imagine most of us can more easily understand. But in most cases I guess, taking one's own life is rarely a single issue of perceived failure on the sports field, perceived failures financially or in relationships or whatever. It is more likely to be an unfortunate coincidence of factors similar to these, and/or long standing or temporary mental health issues which combine, to tip the balance. And the perception of the person acting in that way might be well off the mark - plain wrong in fact - so that where he sees failure or inadequacy, others if asked might have seen the position very differently. WE may not be able to understand the pressures that person felt at the time and WE might have acted very differently. That very same person may have acted differently to the events on his mind if they had taken place the next day. If these situations were very simple, they would have a very simple solution.
I remember being massively shocked when the news came through that Gary Speed had died. I hope that wasn't just because of my Welsh family background and the fact I have always supported Welsh teams on the sports field. I guess the shock might also have been felt by supporters of clubs like Leeds United and Newcastle, for whom Gary played so long and successfully. But in fact, through his death, Gary Speed may have done much for people in a similar position in the future. The fact that we are thinking about it, writing about it, ten years after the event means awareness of the issue is greater and that a spotlight has been shone on something most of us might prefer not to think about. That the mental health services and organisations like the Samaritans are giving time and help in this area is probably the greatest legacy of Gary Speed's death, and probably more important than anything a footballer could do on the sports field.
The charitable efforts of Kevin Sinfield, and the good which will hopefully result from them, are another issue entirely. Again, they might overshadow anything any sportsman could have done on the playing field.