Against Peterborough on New Years Eve Nicky Bailey didn’t come out for the 2nd half. We later found out that he had been subbed after picking up a knee injury in the first half. In the early stages of the game he took a nasty knock. He is one of those players who every time he comes of the pitch, he must be bruised and battered!
After the game Mogga said Bails would miss the Blackpool game and then be assessed hoping that he would be back in 2 weeks. This week it was announced after his scan that the damage was worse than first thought and Bailey would miss 4-6 weeks with a medial knee ligament injury. A massive blow to us! Our Boateng Our Mustoe type of player and I don’t say that lightly when Mustoe my all time favourite Boro player.
His impact has got us where we are, pushing the team towards the top of the table. For me it’s between Bailey and Robson for the player of the season. Bailey plays his role well and makes our team tick. Playing in front of the defenders sweeping up play, been a nuisance to opposition, winning possession and mixing his passing range long and short. We will miss his leadership qualities too he is always communicating with the team. With his passion, determination and never give up attitude he has become a fans favourite. The goal against Cardiff is one of my favourites of the season. Bailey released Hoyte down the flank who found Scott McDonald who Volleyed home from 6 yards. A great team goal.
It’s now a big chance for Richard Smallwood, he never let us down last season playing consistently and getting his first goal away at Cardiff. A different player to Bailey he wins procession and plays the simple pass. It has been a frustrating time for Smallwood who has struggled to get a place on the bench this season following the new 5 man bench rule introduced this season. It is such a bad move! He has made three starts this season against Walsall and
Crystal Palace in the cup and away in the League at Blackpool just this week. Step forward Smallwood it’s your big chance to shine in the first team! It’s a test for us as our squad has become stretched with midfield players out, yet we coped without Emnes while he was injured with a hamstring strain recently and won at Cardiff and at home to Hull.
If Mogga can buy a different style centre forward to what we currently have and Smallwood carries on his form from last season, there should be no reason why we can’t stay in the top 3 or 4. I wish Nicky Bailey a speedy recovery to come back for the last part of the season and hope he can help push us to gain promotion.
Well done Mogga on winning December Manager of Month, well deserved for closing the gap on the top 2, with fine form in December, 4 wins and 1 draw. Who thought that would happen after the West Ham game at the end of November?!