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Luton v Boro
 

Luton v Boro

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Boro v Luton Town

Monday 24/4/23 KO 8 PM

Kenilworth Road Stadium

 

So it’s been Andy3 (many thanks 🙏) and a return to Middlesbrough3 as so many of us Diasborians have now been frequently forecasting.

 

This post is also memorable as it celebrates the fact that Boro have now achieved a guaranteed place in the playoffs this season. A huge well done to the management, staff and players on a remarkable achievement. This of course is after the shambles of the previous management’s efforts with virtually the same squad who were heading for relegation at the early part of the same season.

 

The game against Hull City was very interesting from a personal and an observational point of view. A last minute ticket (2 hours before k.o) came free for me to watch the game with transport there and back. A combination of an elevator to the top of the stadium, a free pint and a return down with no stairs involved, which meant I had no excuses to not go to the game. Even though I pleaded long term Covid and old age! My protests were denied and not listened to.

 

During the first half of the game I must confess that I wished I was somewhere else as the performance by the Boro team was dreadful the worst I have seen under Carrick.

 

My thoughts on that turgid first half, was that the referee did not appear to be  giving us much in the way of fouls awarded and the Hull players seemed to be quick to go to ground when the slightest touch of a hand was laid on them. Perhaps they should consider taking lessons from assistant referees on how to resist a hand on a shoulder?

 

Hull pressed well and although Boro rattled the base of their right hand post and made their keeper conjure up a great save, it was the Tigers who took the lead.

 

Howson and Mowatt needed to be moving the ball wide a lot quicker when there was space, rather than playing one two’s in the middle with each other. Hackney was not as influential as he had been in other games and things had to definitely change.

 

Not wishing to blame particular players, I felt that McNair made mistakes during the game and his  last one resulted in the goal that Hull scored. With reference to those saying it was Akpoms fault, yes he lost his man but McNair could see everything in front of him and if he had jumped instead of ducking he probably would have blocked the ball!

 

Another point regarding the goal conceded was, if Steffen had also spent less time pushing defenders out of his way and a bit more more time concentrating on where he should have been,  then perhaps

he could have got a hand to the header.

 

Injuries certainly changed the game at half time with the introduction of a reborn Jones and Dijksteel. It was just as if the Boro had signed two new players who seamlessly slotted into the team and tore Hull apart.

 

Another master stroke was moving Howson to centre back after Paddy went off injured. It allowed H2 to move back into his more central midfield slot and Crooks to be a nuisance on the left hand side of the field. Even our goalkeeper got an assist with a long field punt up field which was clinically finished by the “Archer 🏹”.

 

It was interesting to hear Akpom gushing about his manager after the game and he was seen celebrating with him and the rest of the coaching team just after scoring his 29th goal of the season.

 

He said “"I think he’s the manager I’ve been dreaming of my whole career,Honestly, he’s a pleasure to work with, I go out there and give 110 per cent and I want to fight for the manager because he’s showed so much trust and confidence in me, and I really appreciate it, so I just had to dedicate that to the gaffer today.

 

What was not mentioned on television was the moment that Akpom pointed to himself and then pointed to the ground three times in a message to say to the fans “I’m staying here!”

 

So what was our managers response? “He's a strong boy Chubs, when he squeezed me it caught me off guard," laughed Carrick. “I just love to see the lads fulfilling what they're capable of and their potential.”

 

Turning to our opponents Luton, who are one place and one point above Boro in third place, it will be a tough game and hopefully Boro will achieve a good result. Most of us will be watching on SkyBoro TV where all the goals from the Championship’s leading goal scoring team can be seen.

 

Team selection for Boro will undoubtedly be based on the injury situation. Will Forss be fit and Jones play? Will Smith recover in time or does Dijksteel remain in his place? In the centre of defence will Johnny Howson remain at the heart where he played so magnificently on Wednesday evening during the second half of the game? Or will Paddy return to help keep a clean sheet?

 

So the manager faces a waiting game to see how his squad recovers from injury over the next few days. What is comforting, is that the players who have come in as substitutes have produced the goods and contributed to the overall team effort. It’s like Carrick has always said “we have a big squad and we need to use it!”

 

An away point at Reading was enough for Luton to secure a place in the playoffs for the second season running. They can only hope that the Hatters make a better fist of it this time around than their last experience in this situation when Huddersfield Town beat them over two legs.

 

Rob Edwards (manager) in his post-match interview with the BBC summed it up perfectly, when he commented: “I think it’s a great night for the football club. We’re guaranteed a play-off spot with three games to go.”

 

At least the Boro will not have to face Andy Carroll on Monday as he was sent off the other evening against Reading for being in receipt of two yellow cards.

 

So will we raise our hats to the  Boro on Monday?

 

Will we see Boro3 emerge?

 

Me?

 

Ok going for Luton 1 Boro 3

 

OFB

 


Powmill-Naemore
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@OFB. Just when I was about to give you 10/10 for an exemplary return to the field, you blew it with an avoidable schoolboy error. Of course Boro won't have to face Andy Carroll on Monday night. Not because he got sent off, but because he plays for Reading, not Luton 😉 

 

I am looking forward to seeing the game and agree with the posters already on the Hull thread that we need to maintain momentum and stamp our dominance over Luton now, so if we do have to play them at Wembley they are already worried about facing us.

 

I missed that from Chuba OFB and how great is that. He wants to stay here. You know, perhaps there will be a silver lining if we don't go up this season. Next season we can continue to rattle in the goas and perhaps outdo JC's celebrated team by running away with the Championship next season by a record margin playing superbly entertaining football and scoring a club record number of goals !!!

That said, wouldn't it great to finally break our Wembley duck ......

 

It will be a tough game on Monday. Luton will want the victory as much as we do. I think though, that we have too much quality for them and we will prevail by a two goal margin, with Chuba to get his 30th of the season.

 

CoB

This post was modified 1 year ago by Powmill-Naemore

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@powmillnaemore 

doh! Brain fog rules !


   
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Thanks for another excellent opener, Bob, and I'm glad that you were able to get to the game.

So sorry to hear that your Covid symptoms are persisting. It's a scandal that so little attention is being paid to the virus and its aftermath at the moment. It is still quite virulent, though the figures are given no publicity by either the government or the media.

In fact my wife and daughter have both fallen foul of Covid over the past few weeks, and in my daughter's case this involved severe post Covid symptoms including losing consciousness every few minutes and repetitive seizures for which she is now undergoing brain scans. Both were fully vaccinated but the impact of Covid, both immediate and long term, persists within a context of almost total public silence.

Sky's Big Game on Monday night turns out to be a dead rubber, a match of no great consequence which both teams can approach as the mood takes them.

The main debate for us over the next few weeks is one that has already started on the previous thread.

Should we use the remaining games to maintain our momentum by playing our strongest Xl ?

Or should we ring the changes in order to experiment with squad players in the hope of repeating the Mowatt and Jones successes, whilst protecting our most vulnerable and valuable assets for the play-offs?

It may not turn out to be a binary choice. Injuries to key players have not necessarily weakened the team, whilst momentum is bound to falter to some degree in games which have no consequences for us.

I recall Karanka being adamant before the play-offs that he would continue to play his preferred team in the final match, a turgid 0-0 draw, from which no one emerged with any credit. He lost the opportunity of giving a potential match winner like Carayol a run out before the final big matches.

It's possible that the debate will resolve itself in the manner of England friendlies with a proliferation of substitutes being used to revolve around a basic core.

 

 

 

 

This post was modified 1 year ago by lenmasterman

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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

[...]

Team selection for Boro will undoubtedly be based on the injury situation. Will Forss be fit and Jones play? Will Smith recover in time or does Dijksteel remain in his place? In the centre of defence will Johnny Howson remain at the heart where he played so magnificently on Wednesday evening during the second half of the game? Or will Paddy return to help keep a clean sheet?

[...]

So will we raise our hats to the  Boro on Monday?

Will we see Boro3 emerge?

Time  to vote off the Weakest Link...  😉

 


   
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@lenmasterman 

Sorry to hear about your family and their brush with COVID.

Mrs OFB and I have had 5 inoculations and are due one after 4 weeks have elapsed after end of testing positive.

We are quite sure that if we hadn’t been immunised that we wouldn’t have survived!

 

Still feeling crxp !

OFB


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I think we should always play our strongest team at all times. I believe it's not right to save players for special games.Lets keep the momentum going and put the pressure on the other teams. I'm sure that MC will have learned that  from Sir Alex.

I remember Steve Mclaren (who I didn't like) played a weakened team in the league before the Euro final against Sevilla.That was a mistake plus his tactics were wrong in that game.

 


   
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Philip of Huddersfield
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Boro should play their strongest teams in the remaining games - in reality because of injuries to Fry, McGree and Ramsay the team won’t be the first eleven.

If these 3 players are available for the play offs ( so far no predictions when available which is a concern)  they will be a bit rusty having not played for around 3 weeks.
However I’d go for a replacement now for McNair to give them more game time. MC has been too supportive of McNair when we can all see he’s the weakest link for months.  This could be MC’s biggest call and one he may come to regret.

Hope I’m wrong. 
Luton concede very few goals and so I’m expecting a low scoring game with both teams content with a point. So, 1-1 forecast from me.

Hopefully Boro don’t pick up more injuries as this could be the big problem in the play offs particularly if opposition choose to clobber our creative players.

Philip of Huddersfield 


Selwynoz
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It does look as if injuries will make some of the discussions moot as to what side Carrick can name. McGree, Ramsey and Fry are definitely not available and it doesn't seem certain that they will play again in the regular season or perhaps have a run out against Coventry.

In any case, I would be tempted to give Hackney a rest in one of the remaining games and start with Barlaser so as to give him a better chance to get a feel of the actual games just in case he is needed for something more than a substitute's role.

It's an interesting question as to who plays if both McNair and Fry are not fit. Although Dijksteel is a logical option, his partnership with Jones could be vital given that Smith (ribs) and Forss (ankle) are also uncertain. Howson can do it but Luton are a big side. Maybe Mr Versatile - Matt Crooks - can do a job at centre back. He plays everywhere else.  

Lots of questions.

UTB


 gt
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Does Chuba still qualify for England, as he ever played for Nigeria , only saying cos Vardy came very late

 


 


   
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Thanks OFB for another excellent starter and good to hear that you were able to make it to the game against Hull.

Well, if I have recovered from the family wedding this weekend on North Stradbroke Island, I shall be attempting to get up on Tuesday morning for the Luton game which will be a 5:00am kick off here.

I think it will be a tight affair and should we concede first we may on this occasion not be able to pull it back.  

That being said I am inclined to go with 1-1 and would like to see Chuba crushing MC again! CoB 😎


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Burnley, Watford,Norwich and Millwall all beaten today, just need Preston to beat Blackburn for a full house, although Coventry beat Reading to move into 5th.

Come on BORO.


   
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Posted by: @exmil

Burnley, Watford,Norwich and Millwall all beaten today, just need Preston to beat Blackburn for a full house, although Coventry beat Reading to move into 5th.

Come on BORO.

Preston & Blackburn drew 1-1.

 


   
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Thanks OFB. Perhaps a great Boro end to the season leading to a win at Wembley will completely clear the remains of your Covid. I was lucky that when I caught Covid, just before the start of the season, it was like a normal sore throat and cold. I only knew it was Covid when I tested myself. 

I felt envious reading that you had an elevator ride on Wednesday as my seat is in the upper West Stand and both my now 75 years old knees were aching as I climbed the steps making me wish there was an elevator. I also thought that in the first half the referee was giving every decision to Hull and we had changed our recent quick passing attacks to sideways and backwards play hoping, without success, to draw Hull out. Jones' entry made the difference with his speed down the wing and especially as he put in low crosses to our men instead of hopeful high crosses over everyone. Steffen had to make a couple of early saves as our defence again got off to a slow start. I can't remember a Boro goalkeeper making a direct assist the way Steffen did for Archer's goal. It was a deliberate well placed ball and Archer showed good control before scoring.

The injuries are now worrying as MC is suggesting that several will miss the Luton match as well as the remaining scheduled fixtures and even the playoffs. It looks like we will find out how good the players usually on the bench are. I just hope that, whatever changes we have to make, we keep the attacking form from the Norwich and Hull games and can tighten up our defence to prevent giving the opposition so many chances to score. 

      


Pedro de Espana
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Welcome back OFB, with a nice Headliner piece.

I am a little concerned over the mounting injuries. One or two others over the next thre games could prove disastrous, especially as the current injured players are not certain to return even for the play offs.

I would certainly start Barlaser and rest Howson or HH for at least one of the last three games. After that there is only possibly Bola who could be used that has not had much game time. Crooks could start and give Archer a rest. 

However I would be surprised if MC does not go for a win at Luton. We are almost guaranteed fourth spot. Only WBA can overtake us (mathmatically but unlikely)


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Posted by: @malcolm

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/23474251.middlesbrough-josh-coburn-tottenham-moment-bristol-rovers-boro/

Thanks for that, Malcolm.  It sounds as though he's a young man with his head screwed on the right way.  🙂

 


   
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Ken Smith
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Thanks Malcolm for that article in the Northern Echo about Josh Coburn, very interesting indeed!

Sadly a bad day for our neighbours Hartlepool United! I’ve probably been to what used to be called Victoria Park more times than any other football stadium in the country except for Ayresome Park and the Riverside Stadium. I remember Pools being moments away from promotion to the old Second Division in 2005 leading Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Wembley before almost 60,000 spectators but eventually losing 2-4 after extra time.  I can even go back to the Fred Westgarth managerial years when they held the record for the number of times they had to apply for re-election to the Football League, 13 times in all. They have however had a succession of famous managers in their time, including Brian Clough, Billy Horner, Cyril Knowles, Alan Murray, Danny Wiison and Craig Hignett. I really thought that Pools had struck gold with the appointment of John Askey especially after the recent 4-1 away win against Grimsby Town, but 3 successive defeats have meant almost certain relegation.

On a brighter note Yorkshire CCC seem to have pulled off an amazing fight back at Hove needing only 63 more runs with 7 wickets remaining to win its first match of the season, but inclement weather until at least 3pm may well thwart the Tykes.

All this hiatus with Boro on the verge of promotion to the Premier League but with a forever increasing injury list. Assuming Boro finish 4th they will now possibly have 3 successive matches against Coventry City before hopefully a final match at Wembley later next month. 

 

This post was modified 1 year ago by Ken Smith

   
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Well Well Sunderland into a play off spot after beating West Brom away by 2 goals to 1. Mr Mowbray rules.


jarkko
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@malcolm And now we cannot finish below 4th in the table - even if we'd lose all our last three league matches.

Of course we will try to finish 3rd next. But we will anyway finish at least in the fourth position now.

Happy days. Up the Boro!


Ken Smith
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Today is St George’s Day, but did you know that although he is England’s patron saint that he was actually born in Turkey?  According to legend he was beheaded 1,720 years ago today in 303 AD. As Michael Caine once remarked “not a lot of people know that”.

This post was modified 1 year ago by Ken Smith

   
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Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @ken

Today is St George’s Day, but did you know that although he is England’s patron saint that he was actually born in Turkey?  According to legend he was beheaded 1,720 years ago today in 303 AD. As Michael Caine once remarked “not a lot of people know that”.

Au contraire. Surely everyone knows that already. I certainly did and I’m sure most adults do too, although I’m deffo not a big flag waver. No one chooses where they’ll be born, it’s just luck (or bad luck) of the draw.

 


   
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Many thanks for the opener Bob and glad that you’re gradually getting back on your feet.

It’s a shame that this game and the next two don’t hugely matter now - it’s all about the two (and hopefully three) that come after that.

Instead of looking forward to the game, I’m more concerned about Akpom and Archer coming through it unscathed. Luton can be quite a robust side and of course would be delighted to see Boro weakened ahead of the playoffs. That said, they’ll be hoping to nurse a few of their own through these games themselves.

This is an interesting battle of the coaches. Luton boss Rob Edwards was, of course, a heavy favourite for the Boro job at one point and clearly he’s done excellently at Luton.

Since he took over in November they’ve picked up 45pts from 22 games - just two fewer than ourselves and one more than Sheff Utd. They’re third in the table in Edwards time as well as overall having been 10th when he took charge.

Looks like Boro’s managerial recruitment was decent with Carrick just pipping Edwards.

I’m not overly concerned about the result tomorrow night but hope for another entertaining game and to come away with confidence and bodies intact.

This post was modified 1 year ago by Andy R

Ken Smith
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Trust Martin to trump my ace! It is also regarded as William Shakespeare’s birthday whether true or not. However I can’t believe that by the tone of your response, that there’ll be no ‘flag waving’ or equivalent celebration if Boro gain promotion this season.

Why are you so argumentative?

This post was modified 1 year ago by Ken Smith

   
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Clive Hurren
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A fine opener, OFB, thank you ! 

I put the Luton game down as a loss for us in the Exmil challenge, purely because Luton don’t concede many and I do think we are vulnerable to concede ourselves. I’m more hopeful now after we put the recent blip behind us, especially after the high tempo second half against Hull. Injuries to our defenders are a worry, as I gather Luton are a big side who score from a lot of set pieces, so we’ll no doubt have to be at our best to keep them out. I think we’ll score, though. I’ll go 2-2. 

As Jarkko says, Boro are now guaranteed to finish third or fourth, unless we lose all our remaining games and Blackburn win all theirs and turn round a goal difference of minus 32!! This is an amazing achievement, considering where we were when MC took over. Brilliant. 

What are the chances now of a Boro v Mackems Wembley final? What a nail-biter that would be! 


Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @ken

Trust Martin to trump my ace! It is also regarded as William Shakespeare’s birthday whether true or not. However I can’t believe that by the tone of your response, that there’ll be no ‘flag waving’ or equivalent celebration if Boro gain promotion this season.

Why are you so argumentative?

Argumentative? Me?  Surely in your long life you must have come across people who don’t always concur with your views. Anyway, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Me?  I’m off to look at the Superleague table. 

 


   
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EFL Awards, Chuba Akpom got championship player of the season and was the only Boro player In Championship team of the season, MFC got the Diversity Award but Micheal Carrick and Hayden Hackney miss out.

Come on BORO.


 gt
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The Luton game to me is a nothing game , the play offs are something else I'm actually scared if we play Sunderland,two reasons I'm not saying they are better than us, but Mogga knows our weaknesses, and they have two wide wingers that will. hurt us , plus the game would be so hyped up , it would nullify any momentum 


jarkko
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@gt I agree there with you. I would like to avoid Sunderland for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Living locally, Mogga has some sort of internal knowledge of Boro. He sees us play a few times a season and knows the mood at Boro.

Also the hype would be high if it will be a derby. And often the form goes out of the window in these derby games.

Of course we could pretend it is not a real derby, but that is false. It won't be a normal game where we would be the favourites. An extra risk for us, me thinks.

Up the Boro!


jarkko
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@exmil And we can add that former footballer and broadcaster Chris Kamara - who recently revealed he had apraxia, which sometimes causes difficulty in speaking - was recognised for his service to the game when handed the Contribution to League Football Award.

So a hat trick for Middlesbrough in a way 😁. Up the Boro! 

This post was modified 1 year ago by jarkko

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