Stephen McManus loan deal to Bristol City went through this week, I never understood why you loan a player out to strengthen a team in your own division especially with our injuries in defence. Our Captain Rhys Williams is out til The New Year, Woodgate won’t play every game in this league leaving us with Seb Hines and Bikey. A bit thin in the defence department! Financially for club it’s a player off wage bill, and from McManus point of view he needs to find a club with his contract running out in June.
I wish the player well he’s not in Mowbray long term plans, but credit to him he’s conducted himself well and helped behind the scenes with the younger academy players.
Going back to loan players in same division it has happened more in last few seasons. The one that really annoyed me was Marvin Emnes move to Swansea under the previous manager I won’t mention his name! We have Miller from Forest, Huddersfield have Beckford on loan from Leicester, just few examples, a sign of the times, off the wage bill, out of favour etc.
Just a word on captaincy at the Boro. Since our skipper Rhys Williams got injured in the cup game away at Gillingham in the league Cup, we have had Jonathan Woodgate, Kevin Thomson or Nicky Bailey as our club captain. Your captain should be your future and with Nicky Bailey getting the armband. I’m surprised he hasn’t been offered a new deal with his current contract up in the summer!
Regarding The Home Crowd
The last home game v Derby was our lowest League attendance at the Riverside. I did get concerned as I was travelling to Middlesbrough on train to the game, the train carriages were less than half full. Then as I was walking and approaching the Riverside Stadium there were only small groups of fans. Derby only brought a small following of 279 fans which also doesn’t help. Apart from Leeds, I can’t see many away teams bringing more than 1,000 fans. Leicester brought the most so far this season with 918 away fans. Worrying times and it’s not easy when there are 2 homes games in the same week. Fans can’t afford to fork out £60 in a week to see both games and will pick one. A deal really needs to be done to boost the revenue otherwise we will end up selling one of our main assets. Home advantage. Making it harder to compete to get out of this league. A few new ideas need to be tried out, family packages etc, a decent saving on 2 home games in a week. We need to act fast!!
The season so far!
It’s been a reasonable start to the season for Boro after playing 10 league games it’s time to look at the table, sitting 11th, and 2pts of a playoff place. Our season so far has been hit with a lot of injuries to key players which hasn’t helped. Our first 3 games at home were very enjoyable on and off the pitch. It has been a while since I can say that. The football was good to watch. The team keeping possession, creating chances, just good entertaining football, you can see what Mowbray is trying to do with his passing philosophy.
The last 2 home games have been similar to last season with not enough creativity in the team and an easy game for the away team’s keepers with little goal threat to test them. I know we were lacking real wingers who will get behind the opposition’s defence and test them. We need find a way of winning games at home even with our injuries. The system of 5 central midfielders just doesn’t work. We need to make The Riverside a fortress, a real tough place for the opposition to come to. Where we end up in the league will be largely down to our home form. If we can use the first 3 homes games as a platform to build on and get some consistency we will be up there.
Away from home, I’m sure we would have expected to have few more points on board from Barnsley and Millwall. Blackpool was a disaster game, very painful to watch and more frustrating than anything as the same happened last season. We didn’t play to our full potential and these are the games that annoy me as I like to see how we would compete against a team I think will be up there.
This is how crazy football can be, from the worst performance at Blackpool to best performance of season at Blackburn just a few days later. It was the return of The Juke and what a game he had! The forward held up play well, scoring two top goals, a man of the match display. It was a great team performance away at Ewood Park.
We won away at Watford before the international break, a return of another forward this time Scott McDonald grabbing the winner! Tony Mowbray and Scott McDonald had a meeting the previous week, clear the air talks. Whatever has gone on, I hope they can put that behind them and we can see Scott McDonald do his business on the football pitch. We have now lost the Juke for 5 weeks with a knee injury so the more competition for places the better!
The international break is coming to an end now, back to games coming thick and fast in this crazy Championship. Starting with Brighton this Sat, followed by Hull at home on Tues and Bolton at home the following Sat. A big week to collect some points. If we can put a good run of results together in this league we can jump up places very quickly. You only need look at Cardiff winning 3 games in a week before the international break and now sitting top of this league. It’s important that we start the week well, a point tomorrow would be a good one. Come On Boro!