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QPR v Boro

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Andy R
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After a game of two halves in the season opener versus West Brom, Boro now head down south to take on QPR at Loftus Road this Saturday in a 3pm kick-off.

Chris Wilder’s men made a strong start to the campaign with a dominant first half performance against Steve Bruce’s much-fancied Baggies. New keeper Zack Steffen looked the part, as did fellow debutants Darragh Lenihan and Ryan Giles whilst the returning Chuba Akpom put in a decent shift up front, featuring an assist for Isaiah Jones’ 10th minute goal.

Sadly for Boro fans, West Brom went up about three gears at the start of the second half in a twenty-minute spell that put us very much on the back foot. Handy parachute-payment purchases Jed Wallace and John Swift combined to level the scores after 51 minutes and WBA looked the more likely for the next quarter of an hour or so before Boro recovered their composure and got themselves on top of the game again.

With the respective benches so contrasting in quality, seeing the game out for a point wasn’t a bad result against a promotion rival, yet Boro will feel that a second goal might have killed the Baggies off and sealed all three points. Duncan Watmore did have a glorious chance for that second goal but the industrious front man doesn’t really do tap-ins, does he?

Speaking of missed opportunities, Saturday’s game against QPR could be a chance to rectify last season’s double faux pas. Boro dominated both games against The Hoops last term but somehow managed to come away with just one point  - a 2-3 defeat at home with QPR down to 10 men under Neil Warnock and a 2-2 draw away, with Chris Wilder forced to come out and defend goalkeeper Joe Lumley after another costly error.

The hosts have changed managers over the summer after Mark Warburton was allowed to leave. Michael Beale is the new man and this is the 41-year-old’s first forage into first team management having previously worked as a youth coach and assistant alongside Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, Rangers and Aston Villa.

Beale has so far brought in around four new players at the time of writing, most notably the pacey and direct forward Tyler Roberts, on loan from Leeds Utd.

However, Roberts didn’t feature as QPR fell to a 1-0 defeat on the opening day away at Blackburn without managing a single shot on target or even forcing a corner. Lining up in a 3-4-2-1 “Christmas Tree” formation, the revamped Hoops included some useful players such as goalkeeper Seny Dieng, defenders Rob Dickie and Jake Clarke-Salter and creative force Ilias Chair but it wasn’t enough to overcome a Blackburn side who themselves have been through a large-scale transition this summer and are not considered promotion contenders at this stage.

Despite that, Beale felt his side were better than the result, saying "I thought it was a really even game. In the main our shape was good and our possession was good. We showed a lot of good things. So we're disappointed that we've come away from home, played well, but lost on a set-play and lacked quality in the final third."

More of the same will suit us on Saturday as you feel that QPR may not yet have the extra gears to go through that West Brom did.

Hopefully by the time the game arrives, Chris Wilder may have three or four more players to choose from. He should certainly have two as Paddy McNair returns from suspension and summer signing Marcus Forss will have had a full week at Rockcliffe to acclimatise and may be trusted to start. McNair’s availability will be an interesting one as it’s unclear which back three Chris Wilder prefers at the moment, with Dael Fry the one to miss out against West Brom. Equally, Forss could displace either of Akpom or Watmore with the former new to the setup having missed the pre-season training camp and the latter seemingly more useful as an impact sub and his minutes being carefully managed. For my money, I’m on the fence regarding McNair in place of Bola on the left of defence as he often was last season but I think Akpom did just enough to retain his place and Forss could start ahead of Watmore. Certainly Chris Wilder will be glad to have any kind of selection headache after such a difficult summer in terms of incoming player quantities.

Any point away from home in the Championship is generally a good one but Boro are owed a couple more than that after the two games last season. With QPR going through a lot of change at the moment it could be a good time to play them and I fancy us to get a result.

What say you, Diasboro crew?


lenmasterman
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Great intro Andy.  Many thanks.


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K P in Spain
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Thanks Andy, I second Len’s comments and agree with you that any point away from home is a good one but three would be so much better! ⚽️-⚽️😎


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deleriad
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Thanks Andy. I always have the feeling that Loftus Road is one of those places we do badly at but I have no idea whether it's true in fact. QPR fans seem to be pretty depressed about the prospects for the season but everyone knows how to beat us now so I am dubious until I see what we have in our locker to counter this. 

In their last game they played a 3-4-2-1 so I expect to see one of the two pressing Howson while the other one tries to find space between our midfield and defence. If they execute that well, I don't know what we will do to respond.

Talk is that McNair and Fry both have niggles so they may start on the bench; if not I expect one of them to start instead of Bola. I also expect Forss will start ahead of Watmore alongside Akpom. 

Whether or not we'll have anyone new in, I don't know but I suspect they'll start on the bench anyway. Said bench continues to look really thin. My particular worry is that there is no one in midfield that Wilder trusts to come on and change the game or help see it out once our starting three get tired. I thought McGree improved as the game went on and I do think the link up between him and Giles will be key for us both attacking and defending. On the other hand, the Crooks/Dijksteel/Jones unit didn't seem to have the same level of understanding as its peak last season.

I'm going to go for a 2-1 defeat for us on the basis that it would be nice to be wrong but I think virtually any result is equally possible right now.


Original Fat Bob
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Thanks Andy a great opener for your season Topic Starter.

I think we’ll have a good result against QPR on Saturday and I’m going for  0-2 win for Boro on Saturday.

My reasoning is that the Boro squad have had another week to train together with the goalkeeper and defenders finding out about what they like regarding team play. Boro also have a new goalkeeping coach who will  instill his methods into the defensive set up and hopefully this will result in a clean sheet.

Another week for our strikers to get to know each other’s style of play and hopefully get some more fitness into the legs of crooks who looked somewhat short of match fitness on Saturday.

We do need some midfield cover and Howson although he played some decent passes forward on Saturday he ran out of steam and there was no one on the bench we could have replaced him with. When Paddy is fit one thing you can guarantee is a 100% effort and committed performance and hopefully he will be fit to start on Saturday.

So it’s foam hands 🙌 day for me anyone else like to forecast a Boro win?

OFB


Powmill-Naemore
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A little off-piste, as they say, but I just read this and thought of Jarkko.....

Rail route of the month: gliding past Finland’s pristine forests and lakes

 


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exmil
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Great opener Andy, thank you.

Come on BORO.


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Pedro de Espana
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As the above, thank you for your time and effort putting together your first season's match review.

I would also say your bit about the back three throws up a number of points which could be in CW's inner thoughts. His back three of choice may be Lenihan, McNair and if possible a new left footed CB.

Boro are being linked with Jacob Greaves at Hull, though this does look doubtful to progress, however we will still have a few weeks to bring somebody in and please Mr Wilder. Where would this leave Fry? I cannot see him being overly happy sitting on the bench, likewise Dijksteel perhaps, although the former would have to improve his injury record.

Let's hope we get some upgrades this week and for me, another upgrade to Howson in the midfield area.


Selwynoz
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Great intro. Many thanks.

I think that it’s reasonable to assume that Akron and Forss are likely to start against QPR.

The big question must be the left side of the defence. It was noticeable how much better Wilder’s system works with a left footed centre back able to play the ball forward after it comes across him. In fact, I don’t think that Bola did much wrong but he was left a bit exposed by the Giles/McGree combination in front of him It may well be that the defensive cover work is where we will miss Tavernier the most. I’m also not sure that McNair will be an obvious improvement over Bola but if not there where does he fit in?

I also felt that Crooks had a fairly quiet game. I wonder if he has been told to cut back on the yellow cards. For whatever reason  the Crooks/Jones/Dijksteel combo wasn’t really firing yet. 

it’s certainly early days and there will be a fair bit of gamesmanship in the transfer market before the end of the month.

utb

 


jarkko
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Posted by: @powmillnaemore

A little off-piste, as they say, but I just read this and thought of Jarkko.....

Rail route of the month: gliding past Finland’s pristine forests and lakes

 

I have spent numerious holidays by the lake Pielinen when my three children were small. So very familiar to me. The lake is about 100 km long (but not the biggest on the train trip). 

Pity that the writer didn't visit mountain (or hills?) Koli, but that was on the other side of the lake compared to the train line. https://www.juuka.fi/web/english/koli

Up the Boro!

This post was modified 2 months ago by jarkko

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Ken Smith
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QPR are one of a dozen clubs who could be in the playoffs this season, although last season they seemed to alternate between winning and losing streaks. At their best they are a challenge for any team, but like many teams can be so inconsistent. Boro’s record there in the early seasons was very poor no wins in their first 16 away encounters including some heavy defeats along the way -  0-4 in 66/67 and  69/70, 0-3 in 76/77, 1-6 in 82/83, and 0-5 in 97/98. Then came the big surprise in 2009/10 when out of sorts Strachan’s team pulled off an amazing 5-1 win dawn saaf. Overall though only 3 wins and eleven draws in 25 encounters with a concession of 52 goals. 

Nevertheless I can’t agree that away points are always good points, and would be disappointed if Boro don’t win on Saturday. I hate drawn matches in the Championship because they always rely on victories in the following match to reach the status quo. Far better to win one and lose one than a couple of draws, and as Boro only drew their first match we need wins and quickly too. As there were only 16 goals scored in the Championship last weekend perhaps a single goal will decide Saturday’s match, so 1-0 to the Boro would be the perfect result, although my record of forecasting any Boro match is as bad as David Prutton’s.


werdermouth
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Very good season opener Andy and while another point would be welcome, Boro could do with all three as playing catch-up is always tricky in the Championship!

Didn’t see any of the WBA game but it sounds a familiar story of unfulfilled promise and lack of a striker to convert chances. Hopefully we’ll see some incoming soon with at least one reliable goal-scorer.

I remember the QPR game last season and Boro should have won but contrived to lose it in the end. Surely Chris Wilder won’t allow a similar story this time and we get a happy ending!


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Plato
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Remarks about our Manager are becoming more numerous, and not many are complimentary, he does like to fall in love with a player, no names no pack drill. He does stand there and watch as it all turns to dross. He has no regard for collosall weaknessess in the side, and I am speaking of Connolly. We will not speak of Managers who still expect to decide on, set the price, and sign players. All departments about which they know nothing.  


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Andy R
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Topic starter  

Where do you think we’ll finish this year Plato?


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Powmill-Naemore
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Excellent piece to open your account with this season Andy. Thank you.

What are we to expect from the game tomorrow? 

The Hoops went down by the odd goal in what appears to have been an otherwise evenly contested fixture at Ewood Park last weekend. For what its worth I think Blackburn might struggle a bit more this year than last and I think we should be a tougher nut for QPR to crack.

I'm looking forward to seeing Forss start after a week on the training field with his (new) team mates. Watmore would be my choice to leave on the bench, to resume his role of impact substitute.

If McNair is fit I wonder if there might be a role for him in midfield rather than defence. For the most part we were sound at the back against WBA. Crooks was not so effective, so I could be tempted to swap Crooks out for McNair. It would at least be an option for a switch during the game if CW wants to start with an otherwise unchanged line up (Forss for Watmore being perhaps an only change).

I hear the many saying that a point away from home is a good point, but I think we really need 3 points to give us a 4 from 6 start. Otherwise 2 from 6 could leave us already 4 points to make up and the season is barely started. I do think we have the quality in the starting 11 to make that happen (with at least a couple of options on the bench if needed). So, 2-0 to Boro, with Forss opening his account and Apkom justifying his start with a second.

CoB

 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Powmill-Naemore

deleriad
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Posted by: @powmillnaemore

If McNair is fit I wonder if there might be a role for him in midfield rather than defence. For the most part we were sound at the back against WBA. Crooks was not so effective, so I could be tempted to swap Crooks out for McNair. It would at least be an option for a switch during the game if CW wants to start with an otherwise unchanged line up (Forss for Watmore being perhaps an only change).

It's tempting but I have noticed in the past that it takes McNair several games to acclimatise when switching between midfield and defence. If he hasn't been playing in midfield in training I think it would be a mistake to play him there from the off. Certainly, covering for Crooks or Howson later in the match if they pick up an injury seems like a reasonable play but I don't think Wilder will start him in midfield except in an emergency. 


Philip of Huddersfield
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I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the players bending the knee can’t remember why they are doing it.   Do most of them care?    Can anyone provide any evidence or progress this has achieved?
By asking these questions you will glean that I think that now’s the time to stop as it doesn’t seem to be achieving anything.

For those who think passionately about the issues why aren’t they “ getting round the table” to find a way forward ?   Perhaps they are.  So what have they achieved? 
In my opinion, getting round the table and seeking common ground and producing an agreed plan must be the most fruitful way  forward - marches and demonstrations particularly involving violence usually achieve nothing - in fact , they do more to alienate many people from their just causes.

Just my views.

Meanwhile Boro supporters await definitive news of signings and are no doubt hoping that the delays don’t put the team too far behind the front runners by the time the window shuts.

Meanwhile , the locals here ( Huddersfield) are really upset with strong rumours of their goalkeeper,  ( Nichols,  voted best in the Championship ) going to Leicester.    If so, it will mean that they will have sold their three best players with little signs of decent replacements. Perhaps , Boro could help them out in the goalkeeping department !!

Philip of Huddersfield 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Philip of Huddersfield

Clive Hurren
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I’ve no idea what to expect tomorrow, but agree that now might be a good time to play QPR as they seek to bed in a new manager and players. I wouldn’t be overly unhappy with a point, but as others have said, we will need wins soon if we don’t get one tomorrow. 


Ken Smith
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As I’ve mentioned before I don’t like drawn matches in any sports. Perhaps a way of rewarding goals might be more appropriate with each margin of victory given extra points as in Rugby Union for example.


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David in Cumbria
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Thanks Andy. It's good to see that with you and OFB we have kept our experienced "strikers" leading us into the new season. 

As with the WBA match our limited transfer incomings combined with Tav's departure leaves me nervous about the QPR result (but then I am nervous before every match). Starting with a home draw, which I was able to watch on computer was disappointing, and as usual we failed to take our chances and were left open to the equaliser when WBA had figured out our defensive frailty down the left side. Hopefully in a short time we will have good attacking/defending on both wings and a win at QPR would make it a more promising start to the season than a draw (or defeat!).

I don't know much about Forss (and Hoppe?) but it doesn't seem to be asking for too much in hoping that they have a more prolific season than the Connolly/Balogun partnership. It would be a nice surprise if Akpom shows he is good enough to stay in the squad especially as Watmore is going to struggle to with his knees again. It does look as if we are restricted by FFP in how much we can pay out in both transfer fees and salaries to bring in the number of new signing Wilder was looking for.  

    


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werdermouth
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I got a bit worried when I read on Newsnow that promising youngster Isaiah Jones was facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury - though after reading the article I was relieved to hear it was in fact his namesake who plays as wide-right receiver in American Football.

Hopefully Boro will get a few touchdowns today against the London Rangers…


Ken Smith
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The bookies seem to think that Boro are slight favourites this afternoon with odds of 13/10 whilst QPR are 2/1 and the draw at 12/5, but then Pools are 6/4 and Wimbledon 17/10 with the draw at 11/5, so what do we make of those odds considering that Pools lost 0-4 at Walsall last week.

The unlikely road to Wembley started last night in the FA Cup where Redcar Athletic again lost at the first hurdle in the extra preliminary round at home to Seaham Red Star for the second year running. There were only 9  matches played last night with a further 199 ties to be played today in which Guisborough Town entertain Bishop Auckland whilst Thornaby are also at home to Kendal Town. Other Teesside clubs such as Marske United and Stockton Town will appear later, but there are 3 more rounds before Darlington make their appearance and a further 2 rounds before the First Round Proper when Hartlepools will appear no doubt hoping to reach the Third Round again and perhaps a local derby against Boro or Sunderland next January.


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jarkko
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@Ken Guisborough played in some Cup final at Wembley in the early 1980's. A friend of mine in Great Ayton has missed about three home matches of Boro since the late 1970's. One was when he attended the Cup final to see Gusboro' and the other when he got married. Cannot remember the third time, though.

What was the final where Guisborough played in?

Up the Boro! 


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Martin Bellamy
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Posted by: @jarkko

@Ken Guisborough played in some Cup final at Wembley in the early 1980's. A friend of mine in Great Ayton has missed about three home matches of Boro since the late 1970's. One was when he attended the Cup final to see Gusboro' and the other when he got married. Cannot remember the third time, though.

What was the final where Guisborough played in?

Up the Boro! 

I lived in Guisborough at the time and went to Wembley that day. https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/nostalgia/remember-guisborough-town-went-wembley-10452542.amp

This post was modified 2 months ago by Martin Bellamy

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John Richardson
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Andy,

As always many thanks for the high standard headliner. With hospital visits I'm losing track of which day is which at the moment. Anyway I've established that it is actually Saturday so belatedly here's a prediction. I still feel Boro should have won last week so no profligate finishing this week thank you Boro.

1-2 and a nervy first win for Boro and that will mean some tense Boro fans in Shepherd's Bush and in Norfolk and everywhere else for that matter.

UTB,

John


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Stircrazy
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The starting XI:

Image


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Stircrazy
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According to Vic, Dael & Paddy "not quite ready".


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David in Cumbria
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Posted by: @jarkko

I lived in Guisborough from 1975 to 1980 (my 1st flat) and went to see them lose 2 - 0 in the F A Vase in 1980. It was the first time I had seen a local team playing at Wembley so it was somewhat disappointing. 

On to today. Not surprised by the team. Bottle of Rioja opened.


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David in Cumbria
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QPR 2 - 0. Looks like I will need the whole bottle of Rioja!


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Pedro de Espana
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Boro had not got started before QPR went ahead with a unstoppable goal. However he should have been fouled before then. 

Crooks has not been in the game yet and Howson offering little. The home side are out muscling Boro.

Almost another from QPR with Howson resulting in a corner from which QPR score. Boro just have not turned up.


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