Monday, 11 July 2011

Looking Forward To The New Season

Now having had time to reflect on last season and what a storming finish it was with great away wins at Hull and Cardiff. I’m excited for the new campaign and can’t wait for it to start. Mowbray has done a great job turning the club around since becoming manager last October.

Under the former captain we have enjoyed much improved away form, which all kicked off after finally winning our first away game of the season at Scunthorpe in November. Tony Mowbray did a great job under the difficult circumstances of having to reduce the wage bill forcing the sales of Wheater, O’Neil and most recently Boyd. This close season he had to release Taylor and Arca as their contracts came to an end with the club. Haas and Tavares both left when their loan spells ended. But despite all these forced exits we still have plenty of grounds for optimism.

It’s a shame we have lost Julio Arca I thought he was consistently one of our best players last season, he got my vote for the fans player of the year. Financially it helps the club as Julio was on Premier League wages. While Andrew Taylor was also on big wages needing him to take a pay-cut to stay with Boro he opted instead to go to Cardiff where he has rejoined Malky Mackay who he flourished under on loan at Watford. Personally, I never really saw him as a left midfielder, yet his performances were always solid and reliable. The stats when he played are quite remarkable. He chipped in with quite a few goals too. I wish Andrew well I just hope we do the double over Cardiff again!

I discovered while I was away that Kevin Thomson had got injured stumbling off a running machine. Bad luck had struck again affecting his ankle and the leg he first broke last August resulting in him been out for 12 weeks. He did great at the back end of last season and so it is such a shame, I wish him well with his operation. We should see him back by November!

Pre-Season is now well under away with players tweeting how tough it is. The first week was just pure solid running. The players were much happier about week two with the first sign of a ball and five a side games and then finally 11v11 matches. They will soon be playing some friendly matches out in Slovenia to get match fit.

It could be a big season for some of our young players. Luke Williams seems a forgotten one after breaking into the side when he was only 16. Luke, now 18, had a few months out injured last season after damaging ankle ligaments in Boro’s FA Youth Cup win against Doncaster. He a talented player who was back on the bench for our last game of the season (against Doncaster again) and I look forward to seeing him in action this season.

Richard Smallwood could cement his place in the first team this coming season and carry on his great performances. It will be good to see Jonathan Franks get a good run in the side. It has been a bit stop start for him recently. Cameron Park played the final home game in the middle of park and his versatility could be useful this season playing all across the midfield. Joe Bennett is another who will be looking forward to the new campaign having missed out on the final few games through illness. Adam Reach had a great debut coming on and scoring against Doncaster he will be hoping for more game time.

I know Boro have a couple players on trial let’s hope Tony can bring a few of his own players in to strengthen the side. You need big squads with the amount of games played in the Championship. It is a very demanding league with a lot of games packed into a short period of time.

I’ll write about the championship clubs and Boro’s chances a bit closer to start of the season once teams have taken shape. The next few weeks will no doubt see a lot of ins and outs at clubs.

After a summer of seeing some decent concerts and a nice holiday break abroad I’m looking forward to the new season. A full season ahead under Tony Mowbray watching good football. Bring it On!

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