Often Partisan

0, 1 or 4 – Middlesbrough Preview

Aitor Karanka brings Middlesbrough to St Andrews today with both sides looking for points to lift them up the table. Blues are unbeaten in four games but know that they need to start winning games to lift the home fans.

Middlesbrough

Boro lie one place and two goals better off than Blues in the table, with both teams having nineteen points from their games so far. Boro have lost their last five away games in a row, the last four by a single goal margin and have only kept three clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Karanka can welcome Grant Leadbitter back to the squad after his suspension but striker Curtis Main and keeper Jason Steele remain out serving bans.

Blues

Blues welcome Kyle Bartley back to the squad after suspension and then injury kept him out; however Tom Adeyemi is a doubt and Dariusz Dudka could gain his first start in place of the young midfielder. Lee Clark will have to decide whether to stick with the adventurous 4-4-2 he employed against Doncaster or revert to the 4-2-3-1 which has been used to some success of late.

Clark knows that whilst draws are not defeats at home they have felt like them. Blues really need to win and win well at home to lift the crowd somewhat; at times they have looked like they can do it but then silly mistakes have allowed teams back into it. As OP commenter DoctorD points out Blues either score 0, 1 or 4 at home which would indicate that it could be a confidence problem – and that when Blues get into games that they can tear teams apart. Let’s hope they can do it again today.

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63 Responses to “0, 1 or 4 – Middlesbrough Preview”

  • Blue Steve says:

    I hope LC goes back to 4-2-3-1 today. IMO we need more consistency in selection and tactics.

  • TonyE says:

    The team was unbalanced on Tuesday and we could only draw against a very poor Doncaster side, also Clark fell into the same trap which afflicted both Bruce and McLeish, he waited too long before making his substitutions, Reilly was running on empty for the whole of the second half. Then when he did make a change he bought on Elliot, who gave the ball away, got caught in possession and always tried the difficult pass rather than the easier, more effective one, thus giving the ball away. Hope he’s not in the squad today.

  • mark says:

    hand on heart today blues to win either 3 or 4 nil,………..the omens look good……………………..

  • mark says:

    i hope for a better attendance than we had against Doncaster, it breaks my heart to be out-sung by away fans…………………it would never happen against the vilers………………………………………………..kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    0, 1, or 4? Let’s split the difference and go 3-2 Blues.

  • mike b says:

    hi all……….another cold damp miserable day….so lets hope the football will keep us warm……..i say 3-1…BUT i have been saying that for years….when was that the right score at home?…ever likely i never win any bets…..

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think we should go 4-2-3-1 or maybe 4-1-4-1, but we need a change in centre midfield. Adeyemi and Reilly are struggling at the moment. They’re young and need a breather for a couple of games. Dudka has to come in… surely? CM are the only positions that need a change. The rest, as you were.

    Randolph

    Caddis, Robinson, Burn, Hancox

    Dudka, Elliott/Mullins

    Burke Lingard Novak

    Zigic

    • mark says:

      yes i would be in agreement but i think bartley will also be back in contention, if Clark thinking, as bartley score goals………….bartley for burns…… full agreement with Dudka playing from the off especially as the senior pro wants to stay longer at the stans……………..we need to see what he like in action no better time than present………imo

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I would put Bartley in before Burns myself, because it give the defence balance with 2 lefties and 2 right-footers. But Burn has played ok in the last few games, so Clark might stick with him.

        If I was to really stick my neck out, I’d have Bartley and Burn in defence and Dudka and Robbo in front… and say “Get through that lot.” :p

        • mark says:

          it would be lovely not only get though that, but in the opposition area for fk we should be absolutely deadly with the height we have in our defenders………..bartley and burns could both easily notch 10 goals a piece from set plays…….which bartley has done extremely well at ……………

          imo instead hoofing to ziggy only when necessary, we now have both fb and wb who can put intelligent crosses in …………the more crosses in bang in…………=…..

          imo we are in need of a steady eddie in a defensive midfield position who can conduct the orchestra and allow our team to flow………….kro

          • mark says:

            imo Dudka that man……………………

          • StaffsBlue says:

            It’s not how many crosses we get in, it’s the quality that matters. Opposing keepers get an easy ride with our crosses, most of them end up in the keeper’s hands. We need to get past the full backs more and pull the crosses back. The most dangerous ball in football, is the one pulled back from the goal line. Defenders hate to turn.

          • mark says:

            yes staffs, quality from a player who can curve his cross away from the keeper, other than hope for the best…………….byline balls totally agree…………

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Almost right, other than Reilly instead of Elliott and McLean for Burke.

  • dave mann says:

    i pretty much agree with that staffs though it worries me when were only in december and
    were sayng that two of our players are knackered and need resting, not like the old days
    when clubs fielded there best 11 week in week out and not bothering with squad rotation.
    This game could be anything so ime not even gonna bother predicting the result.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      A different breed of player back then dave. I remember the days when teams played on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (usually the same team home and away.) Never heard the likes of Greaves, Best and Charlton complaining.

  • mark says:

    no disrespect to the young lads they have both been magnificent in midfield the way they have gone about their task in midfield, let them both get their batteries re-changed up ………..

  • dave mann says:

    besty always said he hated training but could play 90 mins every day instead, players and
    managers moan when they get two games a week now, never seen a british player of his
    like in my lifetime and propably never will in any body elses, a trully great player.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I used to pay good money just to watch Bestie live. Can’t think of a single player who would get me out of my seat today.

      • mark says:

        other than best watching a very young Trevor Francis always got me out of my seat, and i feel blessed to have seen him…………… kro

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I second that. Francis, Latchford and Hatton were our Best, Law and Charlton. Great days.

          • Chris W says:

            Greaves and Gilzean were my favourites, would love to see Francis, Latchford and Hatton line up again, defenders trembled at that combination, throw in Jimmy Greenoff and the mighty Pickering. Those were great times to be a Bluenose.
            KRO+DNM

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Pickering, Bridges, Greenhoff, Vincent, Summerill. My mouth is watering now. :-)

          • Chris W says:

            Trevor Hockey and Bert Murray on the wings, I think my all time favourite has to be Bertie Auld though
            KRO+DNM

          • bluenose08 says:

            I would add Kenny burns and duggary to that list !!

          • phillip says:

            Staffs
            Your doing a mis-service to a stalwart Blues players by missing him out,,,,Geoff Vowden !
            part of the V-Bombers,,,,,well remember hin getting the ball on the half way line in front of the old Coventry Rd stand and the next time it was seen,,,,,the goalie was picking it out of the net at the Tilton End,,,,,,and he was still on the halfway line ! hadnt taken a step forward, just belted it, Manure might have had Charlton with his cannonball shot,we had Vowden with his “Transporter shot” you never saw it again after he kicked it until it was picked up from the back of the net

          • Chris W says:

            Played over 200 games and averaged a goal every 3 games, how we could do with someone with that strike rate.
            I remember playing at the Elmdon training ground in a charity match, he took a shot and I thought my wrists had broke, “Lucky I miss hit that”… he said, ouch!

      • chas says:

        Staffs, Ryan Giggs is a great Player, perhaps not as good as Best , but up there with all the other greats.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Do you think that us guys (of a certain age) have been spoiled over the years, with all the great players we’ve seen during the 60s, 70s and 80s? They certainly don’t excite me these days.

      • phillip says:

        Oh for the days when a forward was considered to have had a poor season if he didnt finish in double figures,,,,,,thats ALL five forward players, and the wing halves would chip in as well, you might get the defence helping out as well with a few,, in those days the only player not to score at least one was the keeper [ and in rare games THEY did as well ! ]

        In those days it wasnt a question of “Would we score ?” only a question of how many !

  • Chris W says:

    The form book shouts a Blues win, but when did Blues follow form?
    Middlesboro are one who have recently changed manager, they have tightened up and beginning to get use to a new system, with that in mind I feel it will be a tight and nervy game.
    The midfield is an area we seem dependent on two young player, both have been a little mixed in performances of late and a rest is on the cards before we get the really heavy pitches, Dudka is the most logical choice for one spot, his experience will help the other as we don’t seem too blessed in the CM department.
    I liked the look of McLean on Tuesday so would stick with that starting line up, and bring Burke on 2nd half, He still seems to be carrying an injury to me.
    I haven’t got a score right yet but will go with a Blues win and given the fact Middlesboro have tightened up a 2-1 score.
    KRO+DNM

  • dave mann says:

    to be fair staffs theres two all time greats playing right now in la liga in messi amd ronaldo,
    there goal record of a goal a game is trully staggering and i certainly would pay good money
    to see them two, ive seen ronaldo when at man u but hes come on leaps and bounds since
    then, in this country i cant think of many that exite me, maybe suarez, his four goals the other
    night were as good as ive seen in one game, cant think of many more.KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    yeah its really sad, rooneys our best player but he has is ups and downs, propably our
    only world class player, gerrard as is momments and ashley cole was a great left back
    but not so sure now, dread to think about the world cup, cant see us getting out the group
    but you never know. KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      If Rooney’s world class, especially over the last 3 years, then we really are in trouble. I truly believe that Blues will win the Premier League before England win the World Cup again.

  • dave mann says:

    were never win the world again in our lifetime even if i reach 100 because were miles behind
    the likes of brazil, argentina. holland, germany, spain and even belgium…..also your no a true
    blues fan if you asked that question weather theyed prefer england to win the world cup or
    blues to win the premiership….. we know what we would want dont we?….exactly!!!! KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    i wasent arguing that point mate i was just saying that we would prefer blues to win the
    premier league than england win the world cup, others who claim to be blues fans would
    not, club before country every time for me but some fans support england rather than there
    local team and put country over club……not me or you.KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We need a win today because, a) it will put us 3 points in front of Boro and b) 3 of our next 4 games are away.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I had a feeling that Boro would score a couple, but I thought that we’d get 3 with, effectively, 4 strikers on the pitch. I think we need to ditch that tactic. 4-2-3-1 is fine, but 3 strikers behind Zigic isn’t working because the strikers aren’t prolific enough. 1 goal between 4 of them is a pretty poor return. It’s not as though they haven’t had chances.

    I think it’s time to revert to Burke and Ferguson on the flanks, because the full backs are being left exposed again. Play maybe Adeyemi/Dudka and Reilly/Lee in the middle, with Lingard just in front. Take your choice from Zigic, Novak or McLean for the other position.

  • DoctorD says:

    It was very kind of Dan to take my 0.4. or 1 line of thinking seriously. As always, though, you can’t predict anything in football and so we go and score 2. I wasn’t even at the game but was a right old misery guts at half time. Feeling a bit better now.

  • Paul Carter - a lover of BCFC he says:

    Some great substitutions by Lee earned us a battling point. These players never give up for him. Just a poor mistake cost us the game. A big KRO to all the fans who were there, that KRO we sang towards the end was for each other.

    The unbeaten run continues, cant wait for the Bournemouth game

    • Art Watson says:

      Take a look at our league position Paul and then examine Clarks appalling record especially at home.
      He should have been fired this time last year but it’s suits the current owners to continue to employ him because frankly they couldn’t care less about the club and in the meantime we are heading towards a Division 1

      As for the players never giving up for him why are we almost bottom of the Division with a squad that is capable of at least achieving a mid-table position and continue to under perform at home.?

      I really do admire your blind passion dispare at your lack of ambition .

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Should Olly Lee start the next game? He played well when he came on. There were a few misplaced passes, but he tried hard to make things happen.

    Burke too has to start against Bournemouth. I think being dropped might have been the kick up the ‘arris that he needed, to show he’s not irreplaceable.

  • Tony says:

    Boro lost their last five away, they knew they would stop the rot at Brum, and they did

    • chas says:

      Boro have got a very good record against Blues.They cold almost be classed as our Bogey team, if you believe in that sort of thing. But well done to the Team for keeping the fight going.

  • Chris W says:

    3 of the next 4 games are away, probably a good job because we can’t perform at home.
    Burke looked back at his best so maybe he was either carrying an injury or needed a kick up the backside.
    Novak was back to his normal inept self, Ziggy, well, he just dives about and waves his arms at the linesman, referee or just waves, he huffs and puffs but there just isn’t any blow.
    What was Randolph thinking when he decided to punch rather than catch… poor decision, but he did keep us in the game with a couple of decent saves.
    Is 3 behind Ziggy working? I thought that McLean and Ziggy would have had a better understanding this time out.
    Think we need to look for a half decent renown striker come January, the forwards we have are just not cutting it at this level, nothing wrong with the service, defensively we are solid, just need to cut out the silly mistakes.
    Mitch Hancox had a good game along with Dan Burn, Dudka needs a few more games yet, but looks he could do a good job.
    KRO+DNM

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Was it just me, or should Randolph never have touched the ball that went for the corner leading to their goal. Looked to be going wide. Still, he should have caught the cross instead of trying to punch (the modern day malaise of keepers. Foreign influence methinks.)

      Up front, I’d drop Zigic to the bench and play Mclean up front with Lingard just behind him. It’s got to be worth a try.

      • chas says:

        I don’t think it would hurt for Zigic to position himself outside the Six yard Box(is it still called that ?) when we get Corners..He is a bit too obvious stuck in front of the Goalie and is too easy to pick off. Just a thought like.

      • steve says:

        from where i was Staffs it looked like it had taken a deflection anyway,so he was trying to save a corner.He should have caught the corner,he was unchallenged.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Middlesborough manager Aitor Karanka:

    “At half-time I told my players that we needed a second goal to win the game but Birmingham played very well in the second half to score two goals and earn a draw.”


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