Match Preview: Boro (A)

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BLUES will make the trip to teesside today, as we will face a Middlesbrough side are currently at the top of the table, but have already played two games this season.

Boro drew 2-2 against Millwall on the first game of the season, scoring in the 87th and 97th minutes of the contest to save themselves from opening day defeat. They then showed a much better performance on Tuesday night where they were 3-0 successors over Sheffield United.

Boro celebrating a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United on Tuesday night

Tony Pulis’ team lost Patrick Bamford and Adama in the summer window, which may have concerned some Boro fans as to their attacking threat this season, yet having scored 5 goals in their first 2 games, the worry may not be necessary after all.

Blues however have many attacking options now, with the latest additions to the squad being Omar Bogle, Conor Mahoney and even Aston Villa’s Gary Gardner on deadline day. Lee Camp also joined Blues on a two-year contract as a free transfer from Cardiff City. The ‘keeper isn’t very highly rated in contrast to many other Championship shot-stoppers, yet it is believed that he may be our new number 1 as it seems that Stockdale and Kuszczak aren’t in Garry Monk’s plans for his time at St. Andrew’s.

Blues have only played one game in the new campaign, so the squad should feel fully rejuvenated after having a week without a game.

We showed good signs in the game against Norwich, especially our attackers, with the likes of Viv Solomon-Otabor looking like an exciting prospect for the future. Yet it was very unfortunate to give away two equalising goals in the last 10 minutes to share the points with the Norfolk based side. But the upcoming season looks fairly promising as we could shock a few teams, but we need to focus on holding on to leads to ensure that we can compete in big matches this season.

Viv scores in the 89th minute against Norwich after coming off the bench

Today we need to show that we can beat big teams by getting a win against Pulis’ boys before they have the chance to go infront. Also, this is Garry Monk’s second chance as Blues gaffer to get his own back on the teesside club. Hopefully today is the day…  Let’s get the 3 points in the bag. Come on you Blue Boys!!!

Team News:

BLUES – Lee Camp, Conor Mahoney and Omar Bogle could all be in the match squad for the first time. Davis and Vassell remain out through injuries.

BORO – Jordan Hugill will not feature as Pulis says the striker needs more time to get match fit.

Head-To-Head:

Blues Wins: 44
Draws: 35
Boro Wins: 34
Biggest Win: Blues 7-0 Boro

Previous Encounter:

Blues 0-1 Boro (6th March 2018)

Played For Both – Darren Randolph:

As well as Ryan Shotton, Darren Randolph also endured a spell at Birmingham from 2013-2015, most memorably in the season where we stayed up at the last gasp against Bolton Wanderers in May 2014. After that season, Darren moved to the Premier League with West Ham United and found himself not getting much game time, so in 2017 he moved back into the Championship with Middlesbrough. I really like Darren Randolph and he is a fantastic goalkeeper. He also showed respect towards the Bluenoses when Boro played Blues at St. Andrew’s earlier this year by applauding the Tilton Road supporters – such a small thing to do yet it can go a very long way. However, let’s hope that we can hit a few goals past the ‘keeper today to guarantee our first win of the new campaign.

Quotes From The Gaffer:

On the test posed by Boro:
“They’re one of the strongest sides in the league. And quite rightly they’re fancied for promotion this year. We’re under no illusions about how tough it’s going to be. But we have to be ready when we go up there to show our fight and our spirit and quality. It’s going to be tough but we’re confident.”

On the possibility of his 3 new signings starting at the Riverside:
“They’ve all had pre-seasons. Of course, every team works differently. It’s about getting them up to speed with how we work and how we train physically and tactically and all those things. That’s what we’ve been trying to do this week. The key is making sure that everyone is on the same page and you want the players when they go out onto the pitch to be able to do themselves justice and know exactly what we expect and what we want them to do. But they’re intelligent lads and they’re picking it up and they’ve already had a few training sessions with us.”

My Score Prediction:

I think that Boro are a very well structured team and since Pulis took charge have been very good at grinding out narrow wins, so I think it’ll be very tough. However, as seen in the first game, we proved that we can score goals and now with even more attacking threats added to the team, we can constantly change the team around to score goals when they are needed. But we just need to make sure that we can defend better than last week if we are going to stand a chance of winning this afternoon. But my prediction is that Blues will win 2-1 today. COME ON YOU BLUESSSS!!!

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