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Sheffield Wednesday v BORO [Championship Round 7]

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Powmill-Naemore
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Topic starter  

Match scheduled at 20:00, Tuesday 19th September 2023

 

Played

W

D

L

GF

GA

PTS

POS'n

SheffiedW

6

0

1

5

4

10

1

23rd

BORO

6

0

1

5

4

13

1

24th

 

When AndyR posted the roster for preparing the starter for each match thread back in summer and I was allocated this round 7 Sheffield Wednesday match, had I suggested the fixture had all the ingredients to be the first 6-pointer of the season as these two famous old clubs would be winless and playing to avoid the ignominy of being bottom of the league, then I’m sure that prediction would have been met with ‘owls’ of laughter and ‘hoots’ of derision. Yet here we are and it feels just ‘not right’ to try and find any humour in writing for this next game . This is indeed the first 6-pointer of the season and most certainly not at the end of the table that any of us might have imagined.

Well, to be fair to Pedro de Espana and MW in Darwin, both of these predicted BORO will be underachievers this season in the COTS challenge and Len Masterman also has a low mid-table prediction for BORO. All the same, I can’t quite imagine even they could have foreseen this, our record-breaking worst ever start to the season. Curiously Forever Dormo’s randomly generated entry also has BORO finishing in 14th place. Barring a miraculous turn around in form [and we have seen that happen] those low-mid table predictions are perhaps looking more likely than a top-6 finish for us just now.

I am going to avoid the question of where has this all gone wrong for BORO in this piece. It seems that we have been discussing exactly that since the end of last season and certainly on a regular basis this one. I am in “holding my breath” mode, desperately hoping that our fortune will change sooner than later, but almost not daring to believe just how bad things are looking at this moment in time.

Instead of that let’s take a look at the head to head record to see if history can give us any clues.

BORO has played against the Owls on 115 different occasions since 1895. Honours are really quite even, Wednesday having 49 victories to BORO’s 48 and with 18 matches drawn.

Our best ever result at Hillsborough came in a First Division fixture back in 1909, when BORO came away with victory 5-1. On the other hand we lost the first ever match with the Owls by 6-1 (away). Otherwise results in Sheffield for us have tended to be close, being decided by only 1 goal (43% of the time) or 2 (36%). Rather ominously Wednesday has scored in 88% of home fixtures with BORO, which has failed to score at all in 34% of games away to Wednesday.

In this century we edge the results a little have been victorious at Hillsborough on 5 occasions, but still losing 4 times. No 21st Century draws yet. Wednesday, however, has never failed to score against us at their place in this millennium. That said, in every  game but one when  BORO has scored, we have gone on to win.

So there we have it. Two teams struggling to score at all this season and both conceding badly. BORO has lost all 3 league games played away this season, but Sheffield has lost all 4 home league games this season, so something has to give. History tells us Sheffield always seem to score against us and given we have more holes in the colander that parades as our defence than theirs, I suspect they will score against us again on Tuesday night. The question is, will we score any in reply?

Looking beyond the league, we have actually claimed 2 wins away from home in the 'League Cup' 'Milk Cup' 'Littlewoods Challenge Cup' 'Rumbelows Cup' 'Coca-Cola Cup' 'Worthington Cup' 'Carling Cup' 'Capital One Cup' 'EFL Cup' (I mean) ‘Carabao Cup’. For Wednesday, they have had two home ties both drawn in normal time (actually getting eliminated by Mansfield on penalties in the second of those). So, maybe after all you can argue BORO has the better overall form this season… or is that just too contrived to mean anything.

A lot of Wednesday fans on social media are baffled by manager Xisco Munoz’s tactics and team selection for Saturday’s defeat at home to Ipswich after two weeks break to try and instill some cohesion.

At the risk of sounding like I am repeating myself…

A lot of Boro fans on social media are baffled by head coach Michael Carrick’s tactics and team selection for Saturday’s defeat away to Blackburn after two weeks break to try and instill some cohesion.

The Twitterati (somehow X-erati doesn’t sound right) of both sets of fans are also becoming increasingly vociferous about the tenure of their manager/head coach. Perhaps in my sampling of various tweets and blog posts and comments I detect a little more dissatisfaction from the Owl’s fans than from ours. But if results do not turn around quickly for both of these clubs, the fan’s demand for change will surely become irresistible.

So what is going to happen on Tuesday night?

Whatever happens, the outcome could be defining for both teams this season, even though it is only round 7. There will be immense tension and anxiety in the air at the match, with most of that coming from the home supporters. That is going to get to the home team and keep them on edge, reinforcing their lack of self-belief and perhaps turning to anger. Arguably that could work in favour for BORO to be able to feed on that home-negativity as well as the always incredibly positive away support they will bring. I think am going to side with recent history and overall results for this season and I am going to predict BORO to run out winners with 2 goals to 1. The night the nightmare comes to an end.

Over to you all now.

What do you think? Will BORO snatch their first league win this season, or is it all too late  and as Corporal Frazer would have it, “We’re doomed”?

This topic was modified 6 days ago 2 times by Powmill-Naemore

Selwynoz
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Great opener @Powmill-Naemore.

The Blackburn game could have ended up with any score from the 2-1 that actually happened up to about 5 goals for either side. Blackburn missed a ton of chances and were by far the better side for most of the game but Boro could have scored four in the last twenty minutes. I was watching live here in Oz and it seemed inevitable that there would be more goals. Latte Lath, Forss (2), McGree and Van den Berg all missed great chances or had point blank shots blocked. It was chaos but at least we were creating something. Who made the difference? I would say McGree. He finds space and creates opportunities. What more can we say.

UTB


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Nice Headliner Powmill, with its history of games.

What will happen on Tuesday night, who knows. Sheffield will be backed by a big crowd, so the Boro following may not seem quite as vocal as in previous away matches.

Will MC stick to the same old and hope for a different outcome, again.

Or will the threesome, turn to a sensible choice and start with O’Brien in front of the porous defence. Howson dropped, Hackney behind McGree playing at 10. We need more pace, so I would include Jones on one of the wings. Forss puts in a shift as does Latte Lath, but unfortunately has the touch of an elephant. Crooks was Jonny on the spot for his offside goal, but is not a number 10 or a 9.

The above may unravel from the first name I choose. Barguna could be injured, Engel was injured for yesterday, so O’Brien may end up at LB,, but knowing MC, he could start McGree for the first time and play him at LB.

This season could bring along nightmares and sleepless nights.


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Great opener Powmill, thanks! Liked the bird references and it was clear you hadn’t winged it!

I will be watching, probably from behind the sofa and hoping that MC has hatched a plan to actually win a game or at least not concede goals. That would be a feather in his cap for me anyway.

I have no idea of how it will pan out and, just for a change, we may get an idea when the team is announced and the formation evident. Something needs to change because surely MC has worked out that doing the same thing and expecting different results is not working.

I will go for a 0 0 score bore with neither team wanting to be adventurous in an attempt to keep the fans happy.


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This does feel that it could define Carrick's tenure. Win or draw and we can argue for sticking with the plan. Lose and it's hard to see where Carrick goes from there.

He seems like a manager who sticks to his principles and with what he believes works so I'm guessing we'll see more of the same. The question is what happens if it continues not to work. Carrick just had two weeks to make adjustments and clearly decided not to so that's us pretty much locked into the same pattern of play until the next break. 

It is pretty deflating. It puts last season into a different light. What looked like tactical brilliance is starting to look like good luck and exceptional players playing out of their skins. Even then, it has to be said, that we came up short when it mattered.

This is going to be another match where I am out and about so I'll be turning off notifications in order not to stress. Hopefully that'll bring us luck, we'll win 3-0 and the good times will come flooding back.


   
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Site Creator
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Thanks for a well-researched opener Powmill and thankfully you didn't include reference to my COTS Challenge that was probably the worse prediction since Girls Aloud covered 'I predict a riot'. For the record, I predicted Boro would finish third and Wednesday would be this season's overachievers - though perhaps Boro are helping them slightly overachieve by not being bottom!

So a six pointer it is and a shame Boro can't actually gain six points from this game as they certainly need them. However, the reality is that anything other than a win will cement our place as the worst team in the league as any other result leaves us bottom.

Hard to imagine any tactical change tomorrow as there'll only be one day on the training pitch before the game. Likely we'll no doubt see a few changes in the starting line-up but whether they are sensible changes or yet more curious choices is perhaps the thing to look out for.

Michael Carrick is still insisting his team are playing some good stuff at times and believes they will come good - I hope he is right but he should be aware that Sheffield Wednesday was also Garry Monk's last game as Boro head coach.

Though I can't see Carrick getting the call from Mr Gibson just yet as he probably doesn't want to hit the panic button so early in the season - plus I doubt he has a clue on a credible possible successor and the risk is plucking out another old-stager that needs different types of players than those who arrived in the summer.

Still, I believe Boro probably do have a decent First XI waiting to be organised and selected by the head coach - certainly a team capable of finishing in the top half of the table!

It may be the time to take the role of striker off the misfiring Latte Lath - OK, I understand the argument that you may need to persevere with your biggest purchase of the summer but I suspect he may squander more vital chances for Boro. I'd be inclined to play Forss up top as he looks the most confident striker we have and maybe take the pressure off Latte Lath by playing him on the right as his initial movement and runs are still pretty good. If McGree doesn't get the left-sided attacking role then we have to assume there's something amiss in his relationship with Carrick and Woodgate.

I won't try to second guess who plays at left-back or right-back as I don't know who's turn it is and if Carrick learnt anything from Saturday then O'Brien is a midfielder and van den Berg is a central defender.

Anyway, Boro simply have to win on Tuesday as it won't get any easier if they don't - am I confident they will? I guess I should spare you my prediction until I've washed the tea leaves off my crystal ball...


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A great leading post well done I enjoyed it thank you.

I’m not going for Boro3 this time !

I wonder why?

Instead I shall dream 💭 of the days under Big Jack Charlton when we beat the owls 8 0 remember that Diasborians ?

I do and I Was there !

OFB


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@original-fat-bob.  Me too but I am not expecting a repeat tomorrow! 😎


   
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Powmill-Naemore
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@original-fat-bob and everyone. Thank you for the kind words.

I well remember the 8-0 mauling we dissed out to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday 20th April 1974. It was about the only home game I missed all season because my big sister was getting married that day (still love her to bits though). The compensation was that the reception was at Charlie Amer's Marton Country Club which was where the team had their pre-match lunch on a Saturday. Jack Charlton had spotted that a wedding was going on and went to congratulate the newly weds who were still having the official photographs taken, He kindly posed with them for a photograph that went into their wedding album. My sister asked him if he wouldn't mind if her two Boro mad younger brothers could get a photograph with him. They don't want me, he said and instead arranged for us both to be photographed with the team while they were taking lunch (many baked beans as I recall!).

One of those moments that stays in your minds eye forever, and I still have my copy of the photograph to this day.


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Thanks Powmill for a well researched starter and a very enjoyable and amusing read.

Unfortunately, past performance is no guarantee of future returns and given the way the Boro are playing at the moment anything could happen! 

If MC persists with playing players out of position and with the mantra that if they stick to what they have been doing then things will turn, I fear that tomorrow will be another defeat and the knives will start being sharpened!

For me we need Smith at RB, McGree on from the start, Jones on the right to provide some pace and Forss up front.  O’Brien needs to be played in his strongest position as the experiment on Saturday failed by MC’s own admission!

Horses for courses please Mr Carrick and a positive result and performance if you are to retain my confidence in your management competencies.

CoB gives something to cheer about. 😎


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Thanks for the brilliant opener, Powmill. Superbly written.

I missed the game on Saturday due to work but was surprised at the line-up and not surprised much at all by the outcome. I have read and heard that a number of Boro supporters are no longer behind Carrick, which I suppose is inevitable when you're going through the worst start in the club's history. Even more so when hopes and expectations were so high pre-season.

I listened to Carrick's comments post-match and it didn't sound as if he was looking to change approach any time soon. He spoke of sticking to the process or words to that effect. I'm not so sure.

I think sticking to principles is one thing and I'm on board with that. Playing out from the back to create space to attack, a possession-based game, these are perfectly fine principles. I do think that he now needs to look at the balance of his XI however and ensure he has players playing in positions in which they can thrive. I'm really not sure that Rav Van Den Berg can do so at right back, nor Lewis O'Brien at left wing for example.

We haven't had a dedicated holding midfielder since Sam Morsy was jettisoned and, with Akpom gone, I don't think we have a no.10 either. On paper, the squad looks better suited to a 4-3-3 in my eyes, which isn't massively different to a 4-2-3-1 in any case but allows us to get players playing to their strengths, with an extra body slightly deeper for added protection. No change to the fundamentals needed, just making the most of what you have.

With the current players available, I would go with:

---------------Dieng----------------

Smith Fry Lenihan Engel/Bangura

--------------Howson--------------

--------Hackney    O'Brien--------

---Jones       Forss       McGree---

I don't think we're the worst group of players in the division by a long stretch, and the underlying stats tell the same story, but we have to be more effective at the basics of putting the ball in the net and keeping it of ours. All rather obvious, I know.

This post was modified 5 days ago 2 times by Andy R

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@andy-r          We haven't had a dedicated holding midfielder since Sam Morsy was jettisoned.

Agree, and one could argue that the Blackburn goals and missed chances come predominatley through the middle. I also noticed that in their win against Sheffield on Saturday, Morsy and Luongo were the TWO in their    4-2-3-1 set up.


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Powmill, A fine starter, not for ten two goals forBoro will do and a blank sheet too. I’m having a break on the way back from Cornwall so no Cliffs and no Couch to hide behind. Will I be safe behind the wheel if I tune in for the commentary. Once again thank you for the starter.

All the best everyone. Now on the road again.

UTB,

John


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@andy-r       I appreciate we all have our own views on matters. However surely Andy you are not saying Howson should line up in front of the back four. If you had watched the game on Saturday, then I think you may have made a different choice?


   
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@pedro 

I thought O'Brien might be that option but it seems he's another box-to-boxer. I think Howson is probably the pick of an unstocked bunch if tasked with doing nothing but patrolling in front of the defence - a much more disciplined role than he's previously had. I don't want him to ever be more than 10 yards ahead of them, like Adam Clayton used to be.

Part of the problem at the moment is that he and Hackney have not got those disciplined roles. They are both tasked with being playmakers and supporting attacks. We need one of them to sit and protect all day, and it can't be Hackney.

McNair is the only other option as far as I can see but I'd prefer Howson between the two.

This post was modified 5 days ago by Andy R

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@andy-r.  I agree that Howson is better sitting in front of the back four as he is a good reader of the game and has the skills to tackle effectively and get us out of tight positions; he can also pick a pass from deep.

If not him, then someone other than Hackney needs to do the old Clayton/Morsy role, to support the back four and stop opposition players playing/waltzing through the middle of our defence. 😎


   
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Many of us on here clearly have no idea what is going to happen in the away game tomorrow against Sheffield Wednesday, but we mostly fear for what MIGHT happen. I am ASSUMING that the coaching staff watches a video of each game and tries to work out what went right (Ha!) and what went wrong (a rather longer chapter, I'm afraid to say). I don't know what analysis is carried out after the (unsuccessful) games played by Boro from April to the present day but, whatever conclusions are reached, they must be the wrong ones.  Alternatively the backroom team doesn't have a clue how to use those conclusions to arrive at a strategy to turn things around.  Lots of analogies about ships powering through the waves aiming directly at the rocks, come to mind.  Maybe if we carry on the same heading, with the helmsman lashed to the wheel, some miracle will occur and the rocks will disappear into some hitherto unsuspected universe, leaving in their place a calm lagoon and a gently shelving fine sandy beach?

What I would say is that the performances on display from Middlesbrough this season so far (and at the tail end of last season) are on a conpletely different level from the Headliner by @Powmill-Naemore, and some of the thoughtful comments made by supporters on this Blog who have put up with very poor fare indeed.

Powmill: stratospheric.  MFC: subterranean.

Or, in football terms: Powmill's Headliner: Champions League; Boro's performances this season: Northern League. But if the team tomorrow loses away to the 2nd bottom team in the Division, thus cementing Boro's position at the very basement of the Division, maybe Sunday Pub League.


Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @andy-r

...

With the current players available, I would go with:

---------------Dieng----------------

Smith Fry Lenihan Engel/Bangura

--------------Howson--------------

--------Hackney    O'Brien--------

---Jones       Forss       McGree---

...

 

Thankyou for your appreciation Andy. 

As for the lineup and after pouring over the match highlights a little, I think Fry is the weak link in the centre of defence. I would like to see van den Berg in the centre. Perhaps as part of a three with Lenihan and Fry if you don't want to take Fry out (but I would and probably choose McNair).

Also Smith worries me. He always does when he is on the park. Dijksteel is the man I would like given an extended run on the right. On the left, Bangura seemed off the pace in the bits I watched, so would probably give Engels a chance. I suspect he will look more secure in a back five anyways.

Hackney and Howson side by side with Jones McGree wide with liberty to move in and across. And I agree to have Forss as the main man.

That leaves options to mix it up from the bench...... but MC must be prepared to do that earlier than later if he needs to influence the game.

 

---------------Dieng----------------

Dijksteel  Berg Fry Lenihan  Engel 

-------- Howson  Hackney ---------

----Jones       Forss       McGree---

 


   
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@powmillnaemore 

A nice story but I’ve got my own memories of an 8 0 win !

Sheff Wed actually put the ball into the Boro net at one stage but it was disallowed!

Chants from the crowd

”not allowed to score against the Boro”

 

OFB


   
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Philip of Huddersfield
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Hi all, update on Ken.

He’s been in and out of hospital a few times in the last few weeks and a few days was moved to Sand Bank Care home , Kirkleatham St. Redcar for palliative care.

After a lot of trying I got through to the Home today and they said he’s doing fine but is an ill  man.

If I get any more updates I’ll keep you informed,

Thanks

Philip of Huddersfield 


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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

@powmillnaemore 

A nice story but I’ve got my own memories of an 8 0 win !

Sheff Wed actually put the ball into the Boro net at one stage but it was disallowed!

Chants from the crowd

”not allowed to score against the Boro”

 

OFB

 

I was there and can’t remember that but then it is rather a long time ago. I have the Pink ‘Un in my box of Boro programmes from I was young and keen (and programmes weren’t expensive) with the headline of Eight Some Reelers!

My memory of the day is a bit more painful though - as we were getting in the car to drive home from my uncles house, somehow I managed to get my finger trapped in the door as my sister shut it. Cue blood and a trip to the doctors on the Monday morning - I still bare the indentation and funny nail on that finger as a constant reminder!

Not sure I would go through that again for Boro to score 8 although I was also at the game against Man City when we scored 8. 

 

 


   
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Philip of Huddersfield
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I see that Boro are on Sky tomorrow- not sure when to open a bottle of wine and whether it will be to celebrate a win ( perhaps a draw would count as success!) or to commiserate another defeat.

Meanwhile,  Neil Warnock is leaving Huddersfield after their game on Wednesday as the new American owners fancy their own man - Jesse Marsch is being tipped. Probably just a rumour cos he’s American.

Neil will have no shortage of offers of work around February/ March as some teams panic about their league status. I wonder what state Boro will be in? Carrick will have turned it round?, Carrick has been long gone and the new man is no better, or maybe he is doing a good job to achieve mid table position?

Back to Huddersfield- I’m strongly tipping a third consecutive win for them  as the players and fans love Neil and the players will put on a performance so that he can leave on a high.

Philip of Huddersfield 


   
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Clive Hurren
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Thanks for a great scene-setter, Powmill. 

Like you, I predicted a top 6 finish for Boro. That is currently looking no more than a pipe-dream. Like many others, I’m starting to wonder if Carrick has what it takes to turn it around. Certainly he shows no sign of changing tack from his preferred methods and style. 

I’ve no idea which team he will pick tomorrow. I would play O’Brien in a holding role, even if that means resting Howson. I’d like to see Isaiah, too, as his pace still terrifies defenders. And if Latte Lath is misfiring again, then I’d like to see Coburn given significantly more than 3 minutes. Oh, and I want McGree to start. By the way, do we know what has happened to Alex Gilbert and Sam Greenwood - the latter at least must soon provide another forward option, surely? 

More than anything tomorrow, I want a clean sheet. I want the midfield to be much more solid to prevent runners getting so easily into our back four. I want us to defend properly. I agree with you, Powmill, that Fry is no longer the awesome defender we once thought he would be, and I might rest him in favour of Van den Berg. Having said all that, I still think tomorrow is our best opportunity yet to put real pressure on a vulnerable side. If we play the fluid football that MC says he has seen in games and in training, then I think we can cause them problems, and I think we will create chances. Can we convert one or two of them? Can we actually score first, and having done so, can we hang on to the lead? Let us all hope so. Everything crossed. Only time will tell. 


Clive Hurren
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@philip-of-huddersfield 

Many thanks for the update on Ken, Philip. I last rang him several weeks ago when he found it very difficult to hear me, having developed a hearing issue - in addition to all the other ailments he’s had to deal with for so long. I’ve been very busy of late and have meant to ring him, but time ran away from me. I’m so glad he’s now getting palliative care. I’ll send a card. 

Ken, if you’re reading this, all the very best, my friend, and I hope they are looking after you and giving you the very best  of care. I hope you’re soon feeling fit enough to come back to the blog and give us some more of your wisdom and your great memories of all things Boro. 


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@philip-of-huddersfield Thanks for that, give Ken my best wishes, given his situation I hope they are taking care of him. I’m sure they will. Best wishes Ken.

ATB,

John


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Great opener, Powmill. I really like the surprise element of  the leading pieces, their range and variety, and the way that contributors are stamping their individuality and imagination on the exercise.

Having done just one has made me appreciate even more just how creative and hard working Werder, Bob and Andy have been over the past few seasons in producing so many openers on such a regular basis.

Very best wishes to Ken and thank you to Philip for the update.


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@philip-of-huddersfield.  Thank you for the update on Ken.  Glad to hear that he is being cared for.  Please pass on best wishes and hopefully he might be well enough one day to share more of his memories with us.  😎


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@andy-r   Without appearing to prolong the midfield debate, I have to admit to not knowing too much about O’Brien, other than from Philip and the cameo against QPR and his out of position game against Blackburn.

What I would say is that of the three MF players in Howson, HH and O’Brien, he looked the one with most pace to be able to track (and tackle) the opposition runners through the middle. Hackney has little pace when defending and Howson even less. I also do not think that JH can really chase and tackle now. He is 35 after all. 🤣


   
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@clive-hurren 

if you’re going to send a card to Ken could you also attach one from all his friends at Diasboro?

Happy to contribute to a card or other gift?

 

OFB


Powmill-Naemore
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@forever-dormo 

Too kind FD, I am blushing.


   
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