Discussion Forum

Millwall v Boro: Pr...
 

Millwall v Boro: Preview

44 Posts
18 Users
48 Likes
569 Views
werdermouth
Site Creator
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1551
Topic starter  

With Boro's Championship status now seemingly hanging by a thread (albeit one that is no longer golden), Neil Warnock travels with his team down to East London for a rare Wednesday afternoon kick-off. Whether this proves to be an act of Damnatio ad bestias at the Lion's Den remains to be seen – though it won't be the usual intimidating ordeal without the roar from the terraces and it also doesn't seem like the Boro players will provide the role of stoic Christians either given their current lack of belief.

Nevertheless, with only five games remaining, Boro are going to have to fight for survival and should anyone in a red shirt be already preparing to accept their fate then they will surely be savaged by a Millwall side that may still have hopes of sneaking into the play-offs – whereas the Teessiders only have hopes of sneaking away from the relegation zone while nobody is watching.

Gary Rowett's side currently sit in ninth spot and are unbeaten in their last three games since the restart – though it's been nothing too spectacular with a goalless draw against Barnsley, a one-nil victory over Charlton and another draw against Swansea. Amazingly, the 46-year old is already in his fifth managerial post after spells at Burton, Birmingham, Derby and Stoke – so he is well on course to overtake Warnock's tally of clubs if he continues to be employed in the game.

Anyway, talking of nobody watching, Boro has quickly become something best undertaken from behind several unpronounceable deconstructed Ikea sofas with allen keys poised over the ears to block out the eerie sound of matchday silence that is only punctuated by the exasperated expletives from the dugout as yet another chance to score is squandered.

Three games into his tenure, Warnock has already deemed this job might be his “toughest ever” and admitted he “didn't realise the numbers situation” in terms of defenders at the club. As a manager who likes to build from the back, he's been scratching his head on how to deal with so few fit central defenders and no cover at full-back. A problem made worse by claiming to having few striking options with the ones he has lacking confidence.

After Warnock admitted to at least having plenty of midfielders, it was then an odd choice to then select one of those few fit central defenders to play in midfield against the Hoops – perhaps he thought he could get Moukoudi match fit by giving him a the job of shielding the defence. Although, it's not clear exactly how the selection on Saturday materialised on the teamsheet – unless he also didn't realise the 'numbers situation' on the back of the shirts when writing them down.

It seems club captain George Friend is only playing in central defence because he no longer has the legs to play full-back – though if he's on the pitch because of his senior pro influence then there has been little evidence that he's had much effect on those around him. It's hard to see why he should get the nod over a specialist central defender if another is deemed fit. Britt Assombalonga is another player who appears favoured despite showing little evidence that he's going to score the goals Boro need.

At least Djed Spence should have recovered sufficiently from his dead leg to limp back into contention and perhaps Tavernier will finally be entrusted with starting a game instead of trying to make a late impact. Otherwise apart from maybe Howson, Roberts and Fletcher, few have made much of case to be considered starters. Although, it's possible we may see the Boro manager try another formation but just how he juggles the squad without dropping most of them is not clear.

Sadly, with just two weeks of the season remaining in which five games will be played, there just isn't enough time for Warnock (or even the best manager in the world) to solve the puzzle of creating a winning team from what is looking like a randomly assembled squad of those who were allowed to run-down their contracts or couldn't be sold with some promising but raw young players and the addition of a couple of last-minute loans and misfits.

It's all a bit reminiscent of that famous old Dave Allen joke where somebody stops to ask directions and an Irishman answers “Well if I was you I wouldn't start from here” – unfortunately the direction where Boro will be heading if they can't find their way soon is down!

So, can anyone second-guess Warnock's next team selection and can Boro get a result in their midweek mid-afternoon trip down to Millwall?

This topic was modified 2 years ago 6 times by werdermouth

Quote
Malcolm
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 497
 

I expect NW to get a 1-0 victory tomorrow night. Oh, by the way I'm the worlds worst forecaster. But there is always a first time. 😀 

This post was modified 2 years ago by Malcolm

Liked by Ken Smith
ReplyQuote
K P in Spain
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1442
 

Thanks Werder for another enjoyable preview article.  No idea on the team or system.  Lions 3 - 0 Boro (down and outs)!   I got the first four results wrong but expect to break my duck with this one! 😎😔

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

Liked by werdermouth
ReplyQuote
grovehillwallah
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 561
 

Different Lions 3 - 0 Androcles Boro


ReplyQuote
John Richardson
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 457
 

Werder,

Thanks for the preview and getting me a little excited about the game. Anyway, back down to earth, Millwall 3 - 1 Boro.

A message for Mr Warnock, please put the pace and energy of our youngsters on and drop the deadbeats and the ponderous. Please encourage the kids by trusting them and playing them because with their contracts they'll be here next year and loanees will be long gone. How many times has Howson been played in his favoured position?

Morrison, no point in being on the subs bench as an impact sub because he hasn't and doesn't make any impact. Please play Moukoudi in his rightful position not out of position. Our Man City loanee? Tell him to look up and use his footballing brain. I could go on but everyone has said it before, many times.

UTB,

John


ReplyQuote
grovehillwallah
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 561
 

At least tonight’s results went our way....


ReplyQuote
Boro Beckys Dad
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 92
 

Thanks Werder - a great intro for another must win or must not lose game! 

Today’s results went in our favour which is a good start although typical Boro will see us waste the opportunity.

It will all depend on what NW decides is his best team and formation and how that compares to what we want

 

To my mind he should select the younger players And those who will be with us next season and who may actually give a damn. Mind you, looking at the defense that is a big problem.

So 

 

Stojonavic 

Fry Moukoudi Friend

Spence Howson McNair Saville Coulson

Tav Wing

Fletcher 

 

UTB

 


Liked by werdermouth
ReplyQuote
Ken Smith
Mr
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1900
 

Boro’s record at The Den was appalling with only 2 wins, 2 draws and 9 defeats, but since moving to The New Den Boro have won 4 times, drawn 3 times and only lost twice, quite a turnaround. One of those wins in December 2014 was when Boro excelled themselves with their biggest away win for 5 years by winning 5-1. Jelle Vossen scored a first half hat trick and with Patrick Bamford also scoring before halftime Boro had the game well won by the interval. Former Boro striker Scott McDonald scored a consolation goal for Millwall with less than 15 minutes remaining, but Enrique Garcia Martinez (known as Kike) immediately scored for Boro to complete a fine win which moved Boro up to 4th position in the Championship. 

Now whether playing behind closed doors in what is usually an intimidating ground will work to Boro’s advantage is open to conjecture. But be warned, Boro’s previous 5-1 away win in 2009 was against QPR, a rare win away when Gordon Strachan was the manager and was coincidentally against our opponents last Sunday, and we all know how that finished. I can’t imagine Boro scoring 5 goals again, but nevertheless there have been some strange results since the lockdown so who knows. At this moment draws are not much good, but a 1-0 win would move Boro up to 18th and several clubs have ended losing runs with away wins including QPR against us and tonight Blackburn winning at Cardiff.

Like Malcolm my record of predicting Boro matches is poor, but surely both of us must get one right soon. So I agree with Malcolm on this occasion a 1-0 away win.

This post was modified 2 years ago by Ken Smith

Liked by jarkko and werdermouth
ReplyQuote
K P in Spain
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1442
 

@boro-beckys-dad.  I agree that we will probably need your selection to get anything at Millwall.  Fingers crossed the ref does not notice that we have 12 on the pitch! 😎😀


Liked by jarkko
ReplyQuote
Andy R
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1006
 

Thanks Werder.

i think I’ll save my prediction until I see the teamsheet. Selections like the last two games and it will only go one way.


Liked by werdermouth
ReplyQuote
Redcar Red
Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 903
 

Very interesting article this morning from AV.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/neil-warnock-middlesbroughs-lop-sided-18557976

I think most would agree its at least 99% accurate if not 100%. That being the case it does cast aspersions over what a great job Pulis done in how he "left the Club in a better state" than when he found it. To balance that maybe Pulis did, in which case if this is how it is now what on earth did Pulis find when he came here and had to sort out? I suspect that when Pulis left, the club was in an even bigger mess or at least no better or worse just more of the same..

For me it just questions what the club put out to the masses versus reality and what can be believed or even trusted. No wonder there was a seeming desire to control media information and emanating news. Now Warnock of course could be spouting nonsense but sadly I think its a pretty accurate reflection and one that many on here and on other forums suspected this time last year with the Golden Thread nonsense. That's not to say that the theory of a Golden Thread is wrong in itself but the planning, methodology and approach couldn't have been further away from what was required to achieve it. 

Without banging on repeatedly about all the mistakes that have been made the big question which is the Elephant in the room is this one. Who is going to oversee this desperately needed "shake up and restructure"?

Deferring to the intellect of Einstein and his definition of insanity, if its the same architects that have brought us to this state then I can confidently predict right here and now what the outcome will be yet again. What is tried, tested and proven is that Gibson, Bausor, Gill and whoever else may be involved ( and I suspect that Gibson will now have Woodgate involved as well) in the process will royally screw it up once again. That top table or inner sanctum is the source of the problem and the real causation for the mess that Boro are in right here and now. 

Flogging off a dodgy keeper, a non scoring forward or an injury prone midfielder is common sense. Their failings are obvious to all yet seemingly when it comes to MFC hierarchy accountability and responsibility is covered in Teesside Teflon. Steve Gibson needs to get this restructure right once and for all but to do that he needs to get the people with the necessary skills and ability to carry it out. Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I even resisted the urge to add the additional and in this case much deserved "P".


ReplyQuote
Andy R
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1006
 

I think when the club say Pulis left us in a far better state than when he found us, they only mean the wage bill.

The quality of the squad he left was much, much worse and I think everyone at the club would know that. You only have to look at the players that were sold or let go.

The past three seasons have all been about meeting FFP regulations (no wonder Gibson is peeved at other clubs on that). Unfortunately, the way that has been managed, the points deduction we might have had for breaching the rules would have left us no worse off than we are now - staring at League One.

This post was modified 2 years ago by Andy R

ReplyQuote
Pedro de Espana
Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 573
 

Thanks for the excellent preview Werder.

RR, reference your above post, which I agree wholeheartedly with, and my recent post on the common denominator Mr Gibson.

I do not believe anything will change whilst SG is the Owner, Why should it? We have lurched from one crisis to another and the situation has got worse. As I said in my post, we are all grateful  for what he has done over 30+ years. But the truth of the matter is in reality he has failed.

Yes we could even be worse off with a new Owner, see Wigan, however under Mr Gibson we won’t go forward on an improvement curve. Well not unless he has a cull of staff. Never going to happen


Liked by werdermouth
ReplyQuote
Boro Beckys Dad
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 92
 
Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

@boro-beckys-dad.  I agree that we will probably need your selection to get anything at Millwall.  Fingers crossed the ref does not notice that we have 12 on the pitch! 😎😀

KP - good spot! Always forget the keeper when checking number! And to think I spent my career in finance dealing with numbers! 


ReplyQuote
Redcar Red
Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 903
 
Posted by: @boro-beckys-dad
Posted by: @k-p-in-spain

@boro-beckys-dad.  I agree that we will probably need your selection to get anything at Millwall.  Fingers crossed the ref does not notice that we have 12 on the pitch! 😎😀

KP - good spot! Always forget the keeper when checking number! And to think I spent my career in finance dealing with numbers! 

Sad thing is I doubt anybody else would notice even if we did play all 12!


Liked by K P in Spain
ReplyQuote
David in Cumbria
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 205
 

Thanks Werder. At least you seem to have kept some of your sense of humour while writing your previews. I have gone from pessimist to super pessimist and only see us getting a point each from Reading and Bristol City, if they have settled for mid-table. I am already thinking about next season in League 1. It looks like next season will start behind closed doors and maybe later safe spaced attendance so most League 1 clubs may not be able to play. Only Boro and Sunderland will have grounds large enough to open so we will play each other home and away 23 times with the top team promoted and the bottom team relegated. I can guess where we will finish.

There, I've got that out of my system so we will actually go on a run of 5 wins (or maybe settle for just 4 wins and a draw). 


Liked by werdermouth
ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1408
 
Posted by: @redcarred

Very interesting article this morning from AV.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/neil-warnock-middlesbroughs-lop-sided-18557976

Yes, I read that with interest.

After this season we have most of the high earners off the wage bill. Also recruitment chief Adrian Bevington left after 18 months in role. And we need a new manager or head coach.

There is lot of desisions in need to be done. We must have strategy and right people to execute it.

If we stay in the Champioship,  the above is also a great chance. It will be interesting five weeks before the new season starts again. Hope everything goes well but the close season is short for recruiting many people from head coach to director of football.  And a recruitment chief, too.

Up the Boro! 


ReplyQuote
Plato
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 539
 

@jarkko

I believe that our only hope is to play the speedy youngsters who would dearly like to score, and have scored in the recent past.

As said, it passes belief that we could leave out the two scorers after our away win that settled nerves and raised hopes. This in a team that lacks goals above all else, the atmosphere in the group must have dreadful to put it mildly, these things are sacking offences at well run clubs, and symptomatic of much else.

I do believe that the club has a cancer at the heart of it. And as a further piece of bad news, there is more than a suggestion that our ex Manager is  still  on the premises, witness the crazy team selections.


ReplyQuote
Redcar Red
Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 903
 
Posted by: @jarkko

There is lot of desisions in need to be done. We must have strategy and right people to execute it.

Given the very short turnaround time between seasons I think it makes sense to stick with Warnock, to chop or change again would be madness. Now his footballing philosophy may not be swashbuckling, exciting, adventurous all out attacking Football but if it gets us into the Play Offs next season that would be a massive improvement. He knows the League and the Players and I would trust him to assemble a functional workmanlike squad without breaking the bank. For instance Cauley Woodrow from Barnsley will probably get as many goals as an Assombalonga or Hugill. I doubt he would be sold on the cheap but I guess he would still be far cheaper than either of those two but produce the same or even greater returns. There are other Woodrow's out there as well as CB's, Midfielders, Defenders etc. the key is finding them first which is something we have failed at.

We need an evolution not a revolution of the ridiculous type tried last summer. First thing is to make the Club sustainable or at least not at risk of dropping into League One (or maybe even Two come next season). Warnock is capable of achieving that comfortably at this level. With a sensible budget he has enough wisdom to know that signing £30K a week Players is unlikely to be any more successful than it has in the past. 

The fast exciting future can be evolved and developed from the Youth system upwards and would be more financially successful. Recruit youngsters with the skill sets from around Europe and even further afield into the Academy. As they break into the Squad that can be supplemented by adding more experienced suitable Players into the squad to compliment the change whilst also maintaining the Clubs position. The quality of Coaching at Youth level will be as important as finding and attracting the right youngsters. At some point Warnock will either play a part in the change or he will take it so far and at that point it will be very necessary that we have a suitable continuity individual in place to ensure a seamless transition (not Woodgate).

Another alternative is to forget the Barcelona Lite dream and stick to hard to beat, scrapping Northern principles, spoiling it for the big boys in the Cups and who knows the Premiership even. Burnley seem to be surviving that way with financial rewards over the last five years that has now become a chasm between us and them.


Liked by 4 people: jarkko, Borobrie, John Richardson and Andy R
 
ReplyQuote
werdermouth
Site Creator
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1551
Topic starter  

Judging by Warnock's talk of the squad needing restructuring it sounds like he's already thinking beyond this season so maybe he's already been given the nod for being in charge next year.

That may explain his other statement yesterday when he talked about the problems of having so many players out of contract in the squad but said that on the plus side the slate could be wiped clean and you can almost start with a blank canvas. Though what might give it away that he's going to be around for longer was..

"That's the plus side but first things first: let's make sure we start with that blank canvas in the Championship and not League One."

I Noted that he said 'we' and not 'the club' - sounds like he's thinking about preparing for next season at Boro.


Liked by Malcolm and Redcar Red
ReplyQuote
grovehillwallah
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 561
 

Is it just me or is everyone else looking at the telly like a questioning dog, trying to read the titles on the obligatory bookshelf backdrop of every Interview these days, and wondering how many are genuine and which are only for show?

I wonder which titles would be on SG or NW’s for instance....

This post was modified 2 years ago by grovehillwallah

Liked by jarkko
ReplyQuote
grovehillwallah
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 561
 

@werdermouth

Possibly the, Royal We....

 

Maybe we may see NW as a DOF?

This post was modified 2 years ago by grovehillwallah

ReplyQuote
Philip of Huddersfield
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 239
 

I’m sure many of us think that 2 wins may be enough to stay up assuming Wigan are docked 12 points.

But how many of us think 2 wins are achievable?
I seem to remember that before the break it was 1 win in 12 and since the break 1 win in 4 which after today I expect it will be 1 win in 5.

So  with what confidence can we expect 2 wins and escape the drop , especially as there’s quite a few matches where the bottom 6 meet one another and so teams will pull away and catch up.

I think the biggest problem NW has, is that there’s no time on the training pitch to drill the players in how he wants them to play.

I also think the team should be set up with a consistent formation- now is not the time to keep changing it.

Forever hopeful but also a realist 

 

Philip of Huddersfield 


Liked by jarkko and Andy R
ReplyQuote
jarkko
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1408
 

Because of time difference of two hours, the match today will start at 5 PM (17 H 00). So after office hours. I just wonder how many people on Teesside will be on-line to watch the match? 

Up the Boro!


ReplyQuote
werdermouth
Site Creator
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1551
Topic starter  

Team News...


ReplyQuote
werdermouth
Site Creator
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1551
Topic starter  

Looks like it could be 5-3-2 and a back three with Spence and Johnson as wing-backs and Britt and Fletcher up front. Or it could even be 4-4-2 if Friend is a left-back and Howson as right-back - I guess we'll find out in an hour...

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by werdermouth

ReplyQuote
Andy R
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1006
 

Well, Spence is the only player with pace in that side, and there's no creativity at all in the centre. Right sort of shape, wrong sort of personnel for me.

Our best hope from that line-up appears to be dogging it out and nicking a win either from Spence marauding down the right or Fletcher and Britt having a rare link-up.

I'm not impressed to be honest. Millwall 2-0 Boro.

This post was modified 2 years ago 2 times by Andy R

ReplyQuote
Boro Beckys Dad
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 92
 

Would have preferred a bit more in midfield with Tav rather than Britt. 

we shall see


ReplyQuote
billy
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 90
 

Where is Roberts???

The only bit of creativity we have


ReplyQuote
billy
Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 90
 

I forgive NW if Roberts is carrying a knock


ReplyQuote
Page 1 / 2
Share: