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Swansea v Boro

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Original Fat Bob
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Swansea  v Boro

Saturday 23/4/22

K.O 15:00 Hours

Swansea.com Stadium

After a thrilling season which only began for the Boro crowd when Chris Wilder took over the reins from the old pack horse, we now need a fast gallop to the finishing post. We could, with a little bit of energy and using the whip, get on the home straight to win a position in the first six in the Championship handicap race. Boro are still not out of the running yet and hopefully we can give everyone a run for their money.

No form stats for Boro published again as a loss is a loss is a loss !

The overall favourites in the Championship by a head are Fulham and after seeing the recent performances of Bournemouth and Huddersfield that would be my strong tip for the final three to go up.

It’s certainly turned into a bumpy ride as we’ve faltered at the last few fences and baulked  at scoring goals and from having a “light shirt” as noted by our jockey it would appear that some players are finding it a “heavy shirt” to wear. As fans we have to have a bit of “give and take” and it was disappointing to see Tav and Bola having a go at each other on Saturday and doesn’t augur well for team spirit.

Our Wilder jockey may be considering changing horses for a different race, one that may ensure more financial rewards. He was a bit of a dark horse and bridled at rumours that he’d been nobbled at two recent press conferences but is a clear leader in the stakes and betting as a front runner to take over at Burnley. Will he leave for pastures new? Will he go with his running mate Alan Knill? Will Kieran Scott our Director of Recruitment go as well which has been rumoured on Twatter.

Neigh, let’s stop horsing around, these jockeys have found their perfect stable at the Riverside.

A change of keeper from Lumley to Daniels has in the main proved positive. The shot stopping has improved but the distribution has suffered which has meant that the defence has had to remain on hand to cover for any quick volleys or headers back from the opposition. We certainly won’t win any games “hands down”and although Daniels has let some goals first past the post in the main he looks steady.

I don’t think that Sol Bamba will play on Saturday and either hopefully Dael Fry is fit again or we play with Bola, Paddy and Dijksteel.

Our captain Johnny Howson seems to have lost a bit of his zip over the last few games and perhaps the season is catching up with him. I don’t expect too many changes in the team and McGree and Tav will keep their places. I think it’s about time that Wilder unleashed the Richmond Rock with Watmore as a pairing up front and forget about Connolly and Sporar.

Hopefully another week will see our not so secret weapon Jones get back to full fitness and start storming down the wing again.

Turning to our opponents Swansea (The Swans) after a poor season they find themselves only four points behind Boro with the same number of games played. If they win on Saturday it will reduce that margin to only one point. I think that this highlights the fine margins that separate the teams this season in the championship and in my opinion this is the season that we should have pushed for promotion. I expect next season to be harder with the quality of the teams being relegated from the Premiership and the financial buffer that they have to sustain a genuine promotion push.

Swansea’s recent game with Reading turned out to be an eight goal thriller. The goals got underway quickly with Reading taking the lead in the third minute through a penalty before Swansea equalised three minutes later. Six minutes after that Swansea scored again through a penalty and ended up going into half time 3-1 up after two Joel Piroe goals gave them the advantage.

Swansea went 4-1 up in the 58th minute before a late resurgence from Reading saw the points shared with goals in the 61st, 71st and then the 95th minute.

The whoscored.com statistics are as follows.

   
Reading Swansea
STRENGTHS  
• Created a high number of chances relative to their possession • Were effective at creating goalscoring opportunities through individual skill
• Were effective at creating goalscoring opportunities through individual skill • Were effective at creating goalscoring opportunities from through balls
• Were effective at creating goalscoring opportunities from the flanks • Were effective at creating goalscoring opportunities from the flanks
• Were strong at finishing • Were strong at finishing
WEAKNESSES  
• Lost possession often • Were aggressive
• Gave away a lot of free-kicks around
the box
• Gave away a lot of free-kicks around
the box
• Were caught offside often  
PLAYING STYLE  
• Played with width • Played with width
• Attacked down the left side • Attacked down the right side
• Attacked through the middle • Dominated possession
• Had a high shot frequency when in possession • Favoured short passing
   

  

  Reading ATTEMPTS Swansea  
  10 Total 11  
  8 Open Play 10  
  1 Set Piece 0  
  0 Counter Attack 0  
  1 Penalty 1  
  0 Own Goal 0  
         
  10 Shots 11  
  4 Goals 4  
  40% Conversion Rate 36%  
         

It is interesting to note that the odds for a Swansea win on Saturday are the same as a score draw and no one fancies the Boro to win.

Swansea attacking threats are as follows, 49% on the right hand side, 21% through the middle and 30% on the left hand side.

Manager Russell Martin is hopeful that Swansea City can keep hold of the team’s best players this summer. Flynn Downes has been linked with  a move to Premier League side Leeds United.

The midfielder has enjoyed a successful first season in Wales having arrived from Ipswich Town in the summer transfer window.

While Swansea have been unable to replicate the form that earned them a trip to Wembley in the play-off final last season, there have been signs of progress under Martin in recent weeks.

Our referee for Saturday is David Webb. He has taken charge of 29 Championship games so far this season, dishing out 95 yellow cards and 4 red cards. It’s probably a good job that Matt Crooks is suspended and unavailable as he could have crept into the referees book.

So come on you Diasborians “let’s be avinyer!”

Predictions please and let’s be positive.

Me?

I’m going for. 0 2 win for Boro!

Come on Boro !

OFB

This topic was modified 4 weeks ago 2 times by werdermouth

MW in Darwin
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Thanks for a great intro OFB. We will have to be wary of Pirie who is on fire at the moment and can’t stop scoring. The referee   David Webb had the Forest game on Monday and gave them a penalty when The ball hit the West Brom player when he was lying on the ground and then sent him off, and we didn’t get a more obvious one at Bournemouth.


Andy R
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Cheers OFB.

I’m afraid I don’t fancy us in this game. I think Swansea are a better side than their league position suggests and might turn us over unfortunately. I recall the game at The Riverside where they out-passed us for much of the game and should have scored a goal or two but they fluffed their lines and we took our chance to win. Fine margins that day.

I’d like to see the team mixed up a bit I think. I’ve mentioned before that Bola might be better for the team as the left centre-back, playing the role as Djiksteel does very well on the right, and I still have a feeling that we might see the very best of Tav at left wingback.

I’m not sure why Balogun has missed out of late but surely Connolly’s time is up and I’m afraid Sporar just hasn’t been the same player since January when the increased competition has dented his swagger. Watmore is probably due a rest again and a return to his impact sub role.

Maybe freshening the team with moving a few players around might reinvigorate us:

Daniels

Djiksteel Fry Bola

Jones McNair Howson McGree Tavernier

Coburn Balogun


exmil
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EXMIL CHALLENGE 2022 - part 3

The fixture list is now available on the dedicated challenge blog, closing date is 1900 hrs Friday 22 April 22, please don’t be late.

Come on BORO.


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deleriad
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Thanks OFB. 4 games to go. Regardless of all the rumours around Wilder we will presumably be putting out our best possible team and going for 4 straight wins. Thing is, players are human too and although I think this is all just noise, Wilder has handled it badly and the players are going to be unsettled too.

So what I would like to see is for Wilder to put out an aggressive team to "shift the needle." Our recent performances have been undermined by players being conservative and trying to avoid mistakes. Now all that matters is winning so I would go for a 3-4-3 from the off.

Daniels

Dijksteel - Fry/Bamba - Bola

McNair - Howson - McGree - Tav

Jones - Coburn - Balogun

This puts everyone on their correct foot and frees Jones up to make more impact higher up. McNair frequently plays wing-back for NI. It's a little unfair on Watmore but he does give us more when coming on later. Balogun has shown good understanding when playing wider left.

I see people saying that Coburn struggles when starting but that's because he needs to develop and this is how you do it. Connolly and Sporar have had zero impact in that position so Coburn is hardly going to do worse. If Fry isn't ready, I think Bamba will have had time to recover.

Subs: Daniels, Peltier, Bamba/Hall, Payero, Gibson/Boyd Munce, Connolly, Watmore

No Sporar or JLS; they're not on the journey so why stick with them. I'm not sure about Connolly and Balogun but they are still playing for their futures even if not with us.

I don't think Wilder will do this but I do think he needs to shake things up. It's all a bit of a drama at the moment; if it drifts any further it becomes a crisis. 


werdermouth
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Many thanks for the match preview OFB and giving us all a Gee-up after the last few matches - it's certainly horses for courses in the Championship and Boro have not looked at the races in recent weeks!

Swansea is definitely a must win game and failure to do so will see our play-off bid go lame - plus let's hope Chris Wilder isn't unseated by his side's refusal at the final hurdle.

Anyway, enough of this horse play - Mrs Werder is about to hand me another list so I better bolt before my handicap becomes permanent 😉 

btw I've re-coded all your whoscored stats in your article as it didn't display properly on my laptop - I think when you copied them it also needs the stylesheet for it to work.

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by werdermouth

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K P in Spain
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Thanks OFB for your form guide for our next outing. 

I am not sure that Bamba can manage three games in such a short space of time and feel that Deleriad's suggestion that we go 3/4/3 might be worth a shot albeit if both Fry & Bamba are not fit then that would mean playing Peltier in the centre of a changed back three which would be a big gamble; it will be a case of who is fit and then how can we change a few things to try and improve our performance in the final third.

It isn't just down to lack of scoring it's also about the lack of quality in creating scoring opportunities.  Jones was becoming less effective before his illness, in part due to teams doubling up on him but also because he is receiving the ball too deep and all too often at a standstill.  The team need to find a way to overcome this and get Jones running at defences and into the space behind them again.  Others in the midfield need to do more especially when Jones is less effective.

I thought Saturday really exposed our limitations and showed that we are a team that has been over performing and that there is still a long long way to go to make us into a solid top six side.

Swansea have been underperforming in the early part of the season but now seem to be finding some momentum and beginning to move from a canter to a gallop, I therefore can't see anything other than a home win.

I hope I am wrong but the team spirit and unity that has been much vaunted since CW arrived seemed to disappear by the end of Saturday's game and CW was extremely down during his post match press conference.  Whether he can lift himself and the team remains to be seen and I just hope we don't see an end of season capitulation. 😔😎  


Andy R
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KP,

Just to add some stats to the debate around Boro's chance creation and finishing over the season so far:

Boro have an overall expected goals of 1.56/game. That is, the "quality" and number of chances created over the season has averaged at 1.56 per game, which is the 6th best in the league. However, after 42 games, that would lead you to think we should have scored around 65 goals - 13 more than we've actually managed. That rings true to me.

For interest, our expected goals conceded has been 1.15 per match = 48.3 over the season and we've conceded 44.

The best in the league are, unsurprisingly, Fulham, with an xG of 2.08 = 87.36 over the season. They've actually scored 98. The worst are Peterborough at 0.89 = 38.27 over the season and they've scored 38.

The outcome for Boro is that we've been the 6th best in the league in terms of chance creation but are 14th for actual goals scored.

At the other end, we're 3rd best for chances conceded but joint 5th for actual goals conceded.

Combined that looks to me like finishing has been the main issue but we've actually been slightly inefficient at the other end too, which perhaps points to the goalkeeping issues as well.

Doesn't tell us anything we didn't know I guess but does back up what we've seen with our own eyes.

 


Original Fat Bob
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Werder

Thanks for trotting out the response to my post and changing the format that I saddled you with.

Andy and I sharing the previews seems to have worked well this season and it makes us appreciate all the work that you did when these were solely your effort. 

Many thanks 

OFB


Original Fat Bob
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Deleriad

Good post and I like the formation you’ve proposed.

OFB


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Ken Smith
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If it’s ‘horses for courses’ Boro are looking at for Saturday it doesn’t bode well. Boro have lost the last 3 three league matches there, and in fact haven’t won there since August 2009 when they won 3-0. Only 5 wins there in 23 league appearances, but the outstanding win at the Vetch was in 1981 when Boro were labouring in the First Division with only 2 wins away from home and the Swans were flying high in the Second Division. The BBC in their wisdom televised this 3rd Round FA Cup tie anticipating a shock result, but Boro unexpectedly won 5-0 with Terry Cochrane’s overhead goal being voted the ‘The Goal of the Season’. 

However I won’t be greedy. I’ll settle for any win this Saturday.


deleriad
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Posted by: @andy-r

KP,

Just to add some stats to the debate around Boro's chance creation and finishing over the season so far:

Boro have an overall expected goals of 1.56/game. That is, the "quality" and number of chances created over the season has averaged at 1.56 per game, which is the 6th best in the league. However, after 42 games, that would lead you to think we should have scored around 65 goals - 13 more than we've actually managed.

I saw that stat too. Until the last 4 games under Wilder we were creating plenty of chances but not putting them away. Same was partially true of the Fulham match. From Hull onwards our chance creation seems to have dropped off a cliff. Although Wilder has been insistent that it's not just down to the forwards, the bottom line is that we have created enough good chances to have scored at least another 10 goals this season just by being average.

I do think that xG is perhaps overstating the number of goals at Championship level because finishing is poorer at this level and most teams are scoring fewer goals than xG predicts. However, we are a long way at the bottom with WBA which implies to me that relatively we have about the second-poorest strike force in the division. 


exmil
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A link for overseas viewers for the Swansea match

https://www.swanseacity.com/news/middlesbrough-game-available-international-supporters-swanstv-live-0

Come on BORO.

 


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K P in Spain
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@Andy R.  The stats are interesting Andy thank you.

From a perception point of view it has appeared to me that we struggle to create many clear cut openings/chances.

Saturday was an example of this as we were unable to break through the well organised two lines of Huddersfield defenders. As in other games we moved the ball across the lines but rarely through it or around the sides to provide a clear shot on goal; not sure what counts as a quality chance in the stats criteria.  It would be interesting to know the number of attempts on goal versus attempts on target and conversion ratio to goals scored.

It is interesting to note in the latest article in the EG that CW, despite the stats, is saying that it is not all down to the strikers and creating chances has been as much of a problem as has finishing them.

Not sure if that is CW just trying to justify his choice of strikers and in particular his persistence with Connolly. 😎

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by K P in Spain

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K P in Spain
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OFB.  Just seen your entries for the final round of the Exmil challenge and Boro prediction!  What happened to ⚽️-⚽️ 😂😂😎


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Original Fat Bob
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kP

I’ve changed because I decided it was just ⚽️⚽️

OFB


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werdermouth
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Werder

Thanks for trotting out the response to my post and changing the format that I saddled you with.

Andy and I sharing the previews seems to have worked well this season and it makes us appreciate all the work that you did when these were solely your effort. 

Many thanks 

OFB

I have absolutely no idea where I used to find the time to write often two articles a week, produce header graphics and edit and publish other articles from yourself and Simon plus publish Redcar Red's match report and prepare match-stats graphics - as well as moderate and edit comments. I must have had a twin who worked when I was sleeping 🤔 😀 


werdermouth
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Just been looking at the form table - OK, it will be no surprise to many that Boro are bottom of the four-game form table but perhaps what is even more telling is that Chris Wilder's team are now only 17th in the ten-game form table - with just three wins (Luton, Birmingham and Peterborough), two draws and five defeats.

It doesn't seem that long ago that we were basking in the sunlit uplands of being top of the ten-game form table - indeed, in the previous ten games prior to the current ten-game form table Boro had won seven, drawn one and lost just two as we averaged 2.2 points per game. In contrast, our current average points per game from the last ten matches is exactly half that at 1.1 points per game.

Swansea are now 4th in the current ten-game form table so they are probably favourites at the weekend - also notable is the 6th spot dark horses (in keeping with the match preview theme), Millwall, are currently 7th in that form table.

Indeed, Millwall could well be favourites for sixth spot as not only are they two points ahead of Boro in the race for the play-offs, their next two games are against recently thrashed Birmingham (6-1 at Blackpool) and all but relegated Peterborough with the worst defence in the league. While they conclude their season at Bournemouth, it's quite likely the Cherries will already be promoted by then and the players hungover minds will be on their summer hols.

So can Boro turn around their form and win their last four games - on current evidence it's looking more of a long shot - though a win at Swansea is maybe the lift the players need to regain their form.

 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by werdermouth

Original Fat Bob
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Twitter latest

 

Chris Wilder to Burnley now at an advanced stage but details still need to be sorted for it to reach the final stages.ʼ

OFB


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Ken Smith
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This might seem inappropriate to some fans, but I have great sympathy for the Derby County fans as their relegation has now been confirmed plus the possibility of a further points deduction next season unless their new ownership can be established soon. We as Boro fans know what it’s like to be in a similar position back in 1986. Unable to hang to their established senior players and unable to replace them has resulted in their having to turn to their academy and guided by Wayne Rooney and his coaching staff have done the city proud. Rooney despite of what we may think of his private life, has gone up in my estimation by standing by his players, a father figure if you like, but also an outstanding coach.

The real villain of course has to be Mel Morris and we should thank our lucky stars that we had and still have a chairman like Steve Gibson in our hour of need. 

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Ken Smith

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werdermouth
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Twitter latest

 

Chris Wilder to Burnley now at an advanced stage but details still need to be sorted for it to reach the final stages.ʼ

OFB

It's a Tweet according to someone called Simon Dobson, who he claims on Twitter to be a football journalist, though for no actual publication - Googling his name gives a possible link to 'The Scarborough News' on a cricket report - another article claims Simon Dobson ended up posting the source of another claim as a Tweet sent by none other than a man called Simon Dobson. I wonder who he knows at Burnley to be so well informed on the imminent appointment of Chris Wilder?

Having said that there's a video clip of Chris Wilder refusing to be even asked the question about Burnley so he's only fueling the speculation.

https://twitter.com/secondtierpod/status/1516380331741437952


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exmil
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Twitter latest

 

Chris Wilder to Burnley now at an advanced stage but details still need to be sorted for it to reach the final stages.ʼ

OFB

OFB, anyone can tweet anything they like, it doesn’t have to be true. Do you not think if MFC/Gibson had given permission for Burnley to approach Wilder it would have made sports news on the like of Sky Sports or even NewsNow. This all started when Simon Jordan (ex Palace chairman) now a pundit on TalkSport said Wilder had been in the Burnley boardroom and had attended match before Dyche had left, which had a modicum of truth, as Wilder went to watch Burnley v Spurs just before we dumped Spurs out of the FA cup and quite possibly was invited up to the boardroom for post match drinks, as possibly happens at the Riverside when visiting managers want check out their next opposition.

 I expect to see unsubstantiated rubbish on the gazette site by people who believe everything they read, without verification from reliable sources but I thought this site was above that.

Come on BORO.


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K P in Spain
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I have said before that I don’t think CW will depart but if he did AK is not available as he joined Granada this week.😉😎

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by K P in Spain

werdermouth
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@Exmil

And yet neither MFC or Chris Wilder can definitely state he will remain Boro manager - the club say they are confident he'll stay the man himself won't even answer questions on the matter. While most bookies still have him as favourite. 

As for Twitter rumours - they are there but unless we know how credible the person who Tweets them is then it's impossible to give the actual Tweet much credibility. Simon Dobson apparently has tens of thousand followers but do we know him from Adam?


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Andy R
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Posted by: @original-fat-bob

Werder

Thanks for trotting out the response to my post and changing the format that I saddled you with.

Andy and I sharing the previews seems to have worked well this season and it makes us appreciate all the work that you did when these were solely your effort. 

Many thanks 

OFB

Hear, hear.

All I’m doing is writing about 700 words in a fairly formulaic pattern.

How on earth Werder did double that twice a week whilst going off on more tangents than a… (err, fill this bit in for me Werder, would you?) and all the rest with the graphics etc I’ll never know.


exmil
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Why should Wilder or MFC respond to these unsubstantiated tweets or rumours, if they did it would give some credence and then more tweets. If they responded to every tweet/rumour they would not have time to do their jobs and how about people having trust in them. I prefer to await reports from some sort of official outlet and not jump on the bandwagon of every scaremongering tweet/rumour.

They may be things going on in the background only time will tell, such as the Dyche sacking, nobody saw that coming and what really led to it we will probably never know.

Come on BORO.


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Powmill-Naemore
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Posted by: @werdermouth

@Exmil

And yet neither MFC or Chris Wilder can definitely state he will remain Boro manager - the club say they are confident he'll stay the man himself won't even answer questions on the matter. While most bookies still have him as favourite. 

As for Twitter rumours - they are there but unless we know how credible the person who Tweets them is then it's impossible to give the actual Tweet much credibility. Simon Dobson apparently has tens of thousand followers but do we know him from Adam?

Is that Adam Dobson? Brothers weren't they 🤔


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werdermouth
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Any PR guru or spin doctor will tell you that you never kill a story by being vague or avoiding answering questions. How about...

Chris Wilder: "I've no intention of joining Burnley or any other club and fully intend to see out my contract with Middlesbrough and hopefully get them promoted to the Premier League."

MFC: "As far we are concerned the club will back Chris Wilder with the resources he needs to fulfill our ambition of returning to the Premier League and will remain as Middlesbrough manager."

That would be unambiguous and end speculation and allow everyone to focus on winning games - since the club have already responded to the rumours with a non-definitive phrase like 'confident' it sounds like they are not certain. 

I am confident Boro will beat Swansea but it won't end speculation that they might lose 😉 

 


Allan in Bahrain
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Posted by: @andy-r

How on earth Werder did double that twice a week whilst going off on more tangents than a… (err, fill this bit in for me Werder, would you?) and all the rest with the graphics etc I’ll never know.

 . . . . . . . a Brownian pollen grain,

 . . . . . . . a Higgs boson

 . . . . . . . transition curve

 . . . . . . . a well worn billiard ball

Well, it's better than thinking about football at the moment.

 

 


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deleriad
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Posted by: @werdermouth

Any PR guru or spin doctor will tell you that you never kill a story by being vague or avoiding answering questions. How about...

Chris Wilder: "I've no intention of joining Burnley or any other club and fully intend to see out my contract with Middlesbrough and hopefully get them promoted to the Premier League."

MFC: "As far we are concerned the club will back Chris Wilder with the resources he needs to fulfill our ambition of returning to the Premier League and will remain as Middlesbrough manager."

That would work but it is only really an option if they can do it. I don't think Wilder is going anywhere this season even if he wants to. 

The key bit of the jigsaw for me is that Wilder appears to have a pre-existing relationship with the new(ish) American owners at Burnley. Apparently they almost bought Sheff Utd while Wilder was there with Wilder disappointed when it didn't happen. They also seem to have nearly appointed him this summer with Dyche moving on but that didn't happen either. 

My suspicion is that they sacked Dyche because they thought they could get Wilder in and someone in Burnley let it be known that this was going to happen. Whether or not Wilder encouraged them to do that I can't say but his behaviour implies to me that he didn't. Instead, he's in a trap because he wants to join but he's not in a position to do so right now; he knows Gibson won't sanction it and I'm sure he also knows that jumping ship after 1/2 a season while trying to qualify for the play-offs will make his name mud. So now the Burnley owners are back-pedalling with talk of an interim manager so that they can try again in the summer but they must also realise they have possibly doomed themselves to relegation. There's also plenty of rumours doing the rounds that they have agreed to appoint someone else which means that Wilder has missed his opportunity.

All this is speculation but it is a reasonable interpretation of what is in the public record and what has happened over the last few days. Boro have let it be known that there has been no approach and that even if there is one they "confident he will stay." They may well be confident because they have zero inclination of letting him go. They are firmer about Scott; again the Scott link would be explained if Wilder had told the Burnley owner that Scott was doing a good job and is the kind of person that Burnley need. 

What I take from all this. Wilder is going nowhere and there will be a club statement to that end before the press conference. If Burnley appoint an interim they will be back for him in the summer but I think they are more likely to make an permanent appointment if they can. 


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