2013 has been a year to forget so far for us Boro fans, only winning two league games both of them at home v Leeds and Cardiff. I don’t know quite what has happened since that great Blackpool display at home at end of year. It was one of the best games I’ve seen under Mogga, passing, movement the lot plenty of energy in the side great to watch.
The bad form in my opinion is a number of factors. First, Marvin Emnes was our top scorer last season with 14 league goals. Marvin made a huge impact last season but for whatever reason he’s not looked interested in this campaign. Jonathan Woodgate has not been available for enough games since the turn of year due to persistent injury niggles.
These stats are from before the Hull game but say a great deal. We have had 25 different back four combinations and 17 of them have come in last 19 games, Shipping 29 goals in 2013. Injuries haven’t helped, Steele has been only one ever present this season in back five. All in front of him have had spells out injured. Hoyte with hip injury, George Friend with his hamstring, Bikey with a hamstring and Woody with a hamstring. This is before I talk about others in the team that have suffered with hamstring strain/injuries.
They must be an investigation in the summer to find out what’s gone wrong and why we had so many hamstring type of injuries. Even with the injuries the defence should be good enough to do job, after all none of them are young kids coming in to the side. I’m sure Steve Gibson and Tony Mowbray will sit down and analyse the season. Questions that I would like to see asked are do we have enough experience? Do we have enough leaders? Do we need change the way we play and be more nasty?
When look at league appearances there are four players that have played over 30 games for us in championship this season. Steele 41, Leadbitter 39, McEachran 35 and Friend 34. That’s not many. On positive note three of those players will play a big part for us again next season, with Josh going back to Chelsea.
Too many key players have struggled for form this season. Rhys Williams, our captain, has only just started to look himself again in the games against Peterborough and Hull. Rhys needs to settle into one position and play at centre back. We have looked more solid in last few games but are now struggling at other end to put our chances away. It was pleasing to get a clean sheet v Peterborough at home and hugely frustrating that we couldn’t capitalise on our chances and put one of them away! I actually fancied us to get the win on Saturday I thought the pressure was off and we would nick all the points. But yet again we struggled to put chances away and an error from Steele saw us come away empty handed again sealing our 20th defeat.
It makes very grim reading and puts us 8 pts of the playoffs with only five games to go. With the dreaded goal difference it is like an extra point. It’s not mathematically impossible for us to reach the playoffs though we would be heavily relying on results elsewhere and for us to win all our games. We have not managed to put back to back wins together this year and so now we are probably left to build for next season.
In the next five games I would like to see us play a few of the youngsters, the likes of Adam Reach and Richard Smallwood who hasn’t really featured too much this season. We are going to need them next season so let’s give them some minutes on the pitch. Three of the Five games that are left are at home, two of them this week. It is massively important that we play well, with the season ticket deadline is approaching fans will want to see encouraging signs for next season.
I am personally looking forward to the new Riverside layout next season with the Red Faction taking the south stand providing us with Boro fans behind both goals. This means that away fans will be housed in the east stand. Leeds apart, away followings have only been a few hundred for majority of championship games this season. Change can be good and it could revive the Riverside. The family area is new for next season which is really postive idea by the club, getting the youngsters involved is important for the future of the club. The prices are really good value in that section and I’ve been encouraged at what club are doing off the pitch with both next season ticket deals and match deals this season. The club are taking on board fans feedback and certainly doing everything right off the pitch we just need to get right on the pitch!