Hull v Boro
After Boro’s chilling defeat at Preston, Michael Carrick’s ghoul-shy horde travel to fellow Championship dead-men-walking Skull City at the MKM Stadium on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.
It was more a case of trick than treat at the weekend as a dispiriting, “witching hour” goal consigned Carrick’s managerial debut to the grave. Our new gaffer will be familiar with “Fergie time” but the goal is supposed to go in at the other end, lads!
The consensus seems to be that Boro played reasonably well down at Deepdale, however, with a couple of defensive lapses ultimately costing us a point or more after Chuba Akpom had provided an early lead. Carrick may have taken some encouragement from the performances of Akpom, McGree and perhaps one or two others but will also have learned that too many of his charges are dreadfully short of form, with repeated errors at the back undermining pockets of reasonable work elsewhere.
There’s little time to coach on the training field at the moment but confidence is a difficult characteristic to hone in any case and Boro do have the opportunity to put a direct relegation rival under further pressure on Tuesday night.
Managerless Hull City sit three places and three points ahead of Boro, with three wins and four defeats since they sacked Shota Arveladze at the end of September. September! And we thought Boro took an age to appoint Carrick!
Back-to-back wins against Blackpool and Rotherham in October may have eased the sense of urgency on Humberside but a 1-0 reverse at home to Blackburn at the weekend will likely have focused minds once again.
The Blackburn defeat was Hull’s fifth home loss of the season from nine games, from which they’ve scored just nine goals and conceded fifteen.
Whilst The Tigers do not have a manager, they do appear to have a goalscorer in ever-present Colombian hitman Óscar Estupiñán, who has bagged eight from his seventeen appearances.
Boro haven’t managed to beat Hull since 2019 and lost both encounters last season without scoring. This year, however, Hull have the worst defensive record in the league with a whopping 32 goals conceded and a goal difference of -12 already.
Whoscored.com state that one of Hull’s major weaknesses is defending against attacks down the wings, which, combined with their goals against column, should have the likes of Isaiah Jones and Ryan Giles licking their lips. If ever there was a game to rediscover some form, this is surely it.
Sticking with whoscored, they also state that Hull’s main strength is counter attacks, which is notably listed as a weakness for Boro so perhaps there will be goals in this one.
What Carrick will have learned from Saturday and how he now shapes his team is difficult to predict but it would certainly make sense to recall Marc Bola on Tuesday evening and allow Ryan Giles to focus on what he does best against a nervy Hull defence. It’s unclear if Crooks or Watmore will be fit to return but that fact that both weren’t considered fit enough even for the bench just a couple of days beforehand must surely cast doubt on their availability. The promising glimpses from Hackney and the return of McGree mean that an out of form Crooks is less of a miss at present but Watmore had been producing some of his best controlled chaos of late with no obvious left-sided replacement available unless Giles is repurposed.
There may also be an opportunity to recall the more attacking Anfernee Djiksteel at right back to support Jones, as Tommy Smith has been doing his best Lee Peltier impression of late in looking fairly solid without ever crossing the halfway line.
Whilst it’s still early days for Carrick, it’s tempting to settle for signs of encouragement at the moment but with both clubs struggling for momentum – and points – this is an important game at the bottom of the Championship. One could even call it “a six pointer”, so long as that “one” isn’t our much loved historian, Ken Smith!
So can “Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough” carve out a sweet treat for the long-suffering fangs, or will we just be going round the houses again?
Come on Boro.
Thanks for another excellent opener Andy.
Come on BORO.
How do you (and OFB, of course) do it? You’ve had just 24 hours to produce another fine piece, and one which is remarkably upbeat given the outcome just that one day earlier. Fabulous work, again!
I’m feeling a bit less catatonic now after Boro’s sleep-walking second half performance yesterday. Perhaps I was a bit harsh on reflection - maybe Boro were only 2/3 as bad as I said we were!
I’m sure Carrick will have been working with the squad on addressing some of the key issues. I’m sure, too, that he will be demanding more. Perhaps he spoke to Fergie yesterday? So let’s go into the Hull game with renewed hope. I’m going for a scraped 1-0 win. Everything crossed.
Well written Headliner Andy, with more than a little dark humour cast over the article.
Unfortunately I still have not recovered from yesterdays generally poor performance. I also just cannot see Boro getting anything from the MKM Stadium, especially with their decent striker in reasonable form.
I think MC will have to make at least a couple of changes, one to stiffen up the defensive side and two to give the forwards better service into the six yard box.
Maybe the bench for Jones and another midfielder in his place. Saying that, not many choices there?
Well done Andy !
A quick post to lift everyone and get the spirits raised (hic) to prepare for another fray once more in the Championship!
Nice one, Andy!
I must say the stat about Hull's defence being so porous is a worrying one for Untypical Boro followers - probably means "Middlesbrough 0" is nailed on. That is the sort of stat that concerns me. You know the thing: "Our opponents haven't scored away from home all season" (Cue for their goal drought to end with a bang); or "We haven't lost a Tuesday night game since October 2021" (Cue for history to be updated by a stuffing); or "Our opponents have lost 5 in a row" (Cue for a turn in form and the inevitable Boro defeat). I have resolved not to make any prediction for this one. I don't want to hex anything.
Thank you, @Andy R for the opener. Well done.
We cannot expect great changes from Michael Carrick yet. But he can make it more simple and let the players be more comfortable with the ball and let them be creative.
As @Forever Dormo wrote recently in the PNE tread:
"He can hardly change the squad in a few weeks, only apply a few tweaks here and there and maybe give some enthusiasm and confidence back to the players."
I think this team needs some more enthusiasm and confidence. It is all small margins and if we can keep a clean sheet, we might get up the table next.
But the set pieces must be defended better. And the midfield need some encouragement and freedom to perform. If we can improve these two processes even ten 10 % we could stop losing. And MC should know a thing or two to make the midfield tick.
Up the Boro!
Thanks Andy for another excellent opener.
On Saturday’s performance MC seems to have found a role that suits TA and the team so one small tweak that worked. Let’s hope he can find a few more and see us start to turn defeats into draws and wins.
I agree we need Bola at LB and Giles at LM/LW.
I am hoping that Boro will serve us up a treat and not perform a defensive trick in extra time! 😎
You’ve got to be a dedicated Boro supporter to continue writing prologues about Boro matches. Andy and OFB are doing sterling work in that regard but I honestly can’t see where the next win is coming from. Draws are of little use at the moment and I think we need to get a couple of wins quickly, though where is the question? Tony Pulis was appointed to sort things out and although the football was dire, at least the results were acceptable at least until the playoffs.
I don’t know how we were regarded as third favourites for promotion this season when our goalscoring has been a problem for several seasons now, but nobody expected us to be in a relegation dogfight. I’m not too concerned yet as the standard of football has deteriorated over several years now. We know any team can beat any other team on any given day, unless seemingly it’s Boro of course. Nevertheless the league table doesn’t show a vast difference between the bottom three and mid-table at the moment, nor mid-table and the playoffs for that matter, but the standard between the Championship and the Premier
League continues to expand year after year which is not healthy for English football.
However I do expect Boro to avoid relegation rather comfortably this season, and next season we all start from scratch as it were. Even in League Two teams like Stevenage were one of the favourites for relegation but today stand second in the table, whilst in the National League Torquay whom Hartlepools beat in the playoffs two years ago are rock bottom. I also hear about Liverpool being 15 points behind Man City, but nobody mentions that they’re only six points away from relegation and have yet to win a league game away from home.
What I’m trying to convey is that sometimes one good season is followed by a poor one, or vice-versa so don’t be too concerned about Boro’s current league position as things will change in the new year even though at the moment Boro may not win another game till Christmas.
Ken injecting a sense of realism, there...!
I don't EXPECT Boro to be relegated this season, either, but unless the players adopt a sense of urgency and attend to the simple things (like marking lonely oppositon players loitering in Boro's penalty area) relegation is still POSSIBLE.
Thanks again Andy. At least you were able to mix in some Halloween puns to lighten up the preview. I was thinking back how cheerful I was when I woke up the morning after the Wigan match as compared to the gloom on Sunday morning.
As Forever Dormo posted, I wonder if MC was warned that Typical Boro were liable to allow Preston to double their previous home goals scored total and that goal shy Hull City are liable to score several while keeping a clean sheet. Our defensive lapses leaving opposition players unmarked at corners and free kicks has been regular over several seasons and managers and even this season, on the Radio Tees commentaries, Neil Maddison has been pointing out that there is an unmarked player before the kicks are taken. Now let's see if Woodgate, as first team coach, gets to grips with the poor defending.
I hope it is too early in the season to be including us in the relegation favourites but I am getting pretty desperate to see Michael Carrick find the way to improve our results before the World Cup break or else I will not be looking forward to the restart of our games.
i think that the 👀 in the sky will make an appearance for this game !
I know that we were an easy mark, (giving up the lead so quickly) but still we were within a minute of collecting a point at the end, which of course brings us to our fatal weakness as a team. And what would that be ? Total lack of fear, no sense that the whistle was about to blow, with a point for us, blissfully playing each kick as if it was the first. No attempt to land the ball in London. Our Coach was laid back, saying he thought we had collected a point, and he had plenty of work to do with the players. Which is probably the best approach
Many thanks Andy for the frighteningly good Hull-raising opener and hopefully Boro's horrific opening to the season can be exorcised in the next two winnable games - mind you, I thought the last two games were also winnable too!
Nevertheless, if Boro can't score against a Hull side who concede on average two goals a game then we may as well give up. It's a tricky decision for Michael Carrick on whether to concentrate on tightening up at the back or going for goals - it would seem sorting out both simultaneously is a stretch but he should at least instruct the team on how to keep a lead or at least not throw away a point at the death.
While we still believe Boro don't belong in the relegation zone, it's fair to say they are only not in the bottom three due to Coventry's pitch problems. It may be worth noting that the Sky Blues were in fairly decent form in October with 14 points from 8 games, which is above play-off form - meanwhile, Boro had continued their flat-lining form with 8 points from 7 games. Indeed, if West Brom start to spark under new management or Huddersfield regroup then Boro need to start winning very soon.
The next two games, Hull then Bristol at home offer the better opportunity rather than Blackpool and Norwich away. Sadly, Carrick has limited options in terms of selection and perhaps only a reshuffle of the full-backs being a possible rejig - though maybe someone like Boyd-Munce could come into the frame and what has happened to Luongo? perhaps having turned 30 since arriving he is no longer regarded as a viable player.
Anyway, I'm hoping Boro can win this one as I'd put Hull in the Wigan category of defensively poor and there for the taking - surely the rocky Boro defence won't provide another horror show!
Of minor interest, I see Stuani equalised for Girona and earned a draw against Real Madrid yesterday.
Still scoring at 36 years old. 😀
@original-fat-bob. Good question. Should be CA, Chuba Akpom! It was early this morning and I was in the middle of my porridge! 😎😃
I can’t agree with Werdermouth’s quote “If Boro can’t score against a Hull side who concede an average of two goals a game then we may as well give up”. What’s the point of giving up at this stage of the season? There’s no quick panacea as Michael Carrick has stated, so let’s just see what happens after he has had 3 months in the job. Nevertheless surely we shouldn’t ever give up on the Boro, it’s been our club now for 60 or 70 years for many of us.
MC about his search for another member of his backroom team.
Watched a really good game tonight - Plymouth v Exeter which Plymouth won 4-2 after being 1-0 and 2-1 behind. What was pleasing was the intent of both teams to get the ball forward as quickly as possible with the game played with a lot of energy by the players.
By comparison many of Boro’s games and their opponents are played at a much slower pace and , by comparison, boring with passing the ball sideways by defenders and midfield players.
It’s as if teams like Boro have it drilled into them not to give the ball away whereas tonight players were prepared to take chances. Okay, some passes weren’t as accurate but both teams then set about getting the ball back as quickly as possible.
The point I’m coming to is, I’m sure there’s young players at this level who would not be out of place with a Championship team.
I would be far happier signing some of these players for Boro than eg the likes of Mowatt, Luengo etc who are probably financially secure in their late 20’s/ early 30’s and who don’t seem to have the hunger to improve.
Philip of Huddersfield
@philip-of-huddersfield - It would be nice to believe that the club is properly scouting in the lower leagues and even non-league rather than only looking at loan deals from PL clubs. Obviously great players in the club's history have come from non-league like Gary Pallister and George Camsell, not to mention players who joined other League clubs from non-league (like Ian Wright and Jamie Vardy). So there are glorious diamonds waiting to be unearthed in addition to those who could "do a job" at our level and above.
Without needing to go below the top 4 divisions, if we could only find a Robbie Mustoe now or another John Hickton...
@philip-of-huddersfield We have found IIsaiah Jones from Tooting & Mitcham in May 2019 😉.
But I see your point. There must be several players like him in the lower league. Up the Boro!
There certainly are players in the Northern League who are worth watching but we don’t seem to rely on scouts these days to find them. When George Camsell retired from playing he initially became a scout for the Boro and his greatest discovery was a young lad playing for Great Broughton - his name was Brian Clough. Many of Boro’s international players were discovered playing for two South Bank clubs St Peters and East End - Wilf Mannion, George Hardwick and Micky Fenton. All these before Boro had an academy. Even Don Revie was discovered playing for Boro Swifts and Bobby Smith born in Lingdale was discovered initially playing for Redcar Boys Club by Chelsea but eventually played for Bill Nicholson’s double winning Tottenham side of 1960/61 and won 15 England caps scoring 13 goals.
Little old Burnley under the managership of Harry Potts with a population of only 8,000 won their second Division One title in 1959/60 with a side comprising of many players born in County Durham. I could go on, but suffice to say that’s as much as I can remember for the time being, and I haven’t touched upon the number of Irish players that Boro signed often after the post season tours of the Emerald Isle. I’ll leave it for others to fill in the blanks but I’ll start you off in the 1950s with Arthur Fitzsimons, Peter Desmond, Jimmy Hartnett and Frank Mulholland. But Alan Moore, Jim Platt and Curtis Fleming will probably feature along the way, although how many of them were discovered by scouts I’m not sure.
I think we have recruited a lot from lower leagues and non-league over the last few years. Wing is an obvious example but there's also, from memory, Jones, Sivi, Olasunya, Roberts, Morsy and maybe some others. There's also the likes of Spence, and Conteh who have been recruited from other teams' youth teams. The results are mixed but you would expect that.
Looking at tonight’s match Hull City have a long injury list including Vaughan Covil, Josh Emmanuel, Salah M’Hand, Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, Benjamin Tetteh and Adama Traore all missing injured, with both Callum Elder and Harvey Vale doubtful.
But having said that Boro’s recent away record on Humberside is appalling with only two wins in 2011 and 2017, one draw in 2018 and 7 defeats including a 0-3
reversal in 2015. Overall Boro have only won 5 league matches in Hull from 28 encounters.
@ken. My late father played for Boro Swifts and alongside Don Revie.
Dad told me that the coach used to run along the touch line telling Don what to do, much in the way that Adama Traore was coached by AK and TP albeit they were confined to their technical areas. 😎
My 'uncle', Bill Sanderson, was the man who signed Don Revie for the Boro Swifts, which became a nursery team for Leicester City. (Uncle Bill wasn't a real uncle, just a very close friend of the family).
Bill was regarded as a father figure by Don who credited him with giving him a real knowledge and insight into the tactics of the game.
Revie developed into one of the most progressive thinkers about the game, not only as manager of Leeds and then England, but even as a player, in which role he made a name for himself as a deep-lying centre-forward.
Bill used to coach his lads not only on the field every Saturday at Hustler's on Stockton Road, but at practice games on Clairville Common and via Sunday morning chalkboard 'classes' from the front room of his house in Keith Road, Grove Hill, just stone's throw away from the Cloughs in Valley Road.
There are fine tributes to Bill in Roger Hermiston's wonderful book, "Cough and Revie", in which Revie credits the principles which informed his career to the lessons hammered home to him in those chalkboard sessions on Keith Road.
My Dad claimed he’d fired a bow and arrow at Don during a childhood game and that was why he had a scar above his nose. I’ve no idea whether that actually happened or if it was a family myth, although my Dad wasn’t prone to telling lies nor making things up.
I notice that my Dad was 7 years older than Revie, so maybe it was a myth after all.
@lenmasterman. Thanks for that information Len which adds a bit more to the little I know about my Dad’s younger days.
I was aware of the Leicester connection but not about how much Bill’s involvement and the influence he had on Don.
Needless to say Dad never made it to the professional game! 😎