Boro Can Escape The Lions Den With 3 Points
By Robert Nichols
Tuesday 21 Feb 2012 14:14:00
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Can Boro put together back to back wins down at Millwall tonight? We will have Barry Robson (but not Nicky Bailey) champing at the bit to add bite to the midfield as we go after a prize that should lift us back into the play off places. It will be a victory that will only be won the hard way. There is never any other way to hammer out a win at the New Den but that would only serve as to make it all the sweeter.


Last season’s league win at Millwall came against all the odds, fighting our way back from a deficit on the pitch and a horrendous, threatening atmosphere off it. The Zemmama-inspired victory really rallied galvanised our players, the club and fans together and laid the platform for a storming finish to the season. The game tonight could prove every bit as important to our chances to take part in the end of season promotion shoot out.


Can we beat Kenny Jacket’s Millwall and kick start a bit of a run. I asked Boro boss a couple of questions to see how he was eyeing up the encounter in south London.


Q: It was very important to start winning games again and holding on to all the points last week against Forest could be vital come the end of April. Don’t you think?

TM: We hope so. I think any 3 points is massive. I think we’ve had to ride a little bit of a storm in the last few weeks at a time when the team haven’t been playing as badly as the statistics might suggest. I don’t think many people have been sitting here criticising. And yet the facts are that we hadn’t won a game since Boxing Day and you can’t hide that fact.

Within that spell we had had some petty decent performances and good games. In cup competitions OK we struggled past Shrewsbury but we did win the football match. We had two, I would say, entertaining, good football games against Sunderland. Over the 90 minutes we didn’t lose either of them, we obviously did in extra time. I think you’ve got to take the positives out of them. We went away to Leicester and were 2 minutes away from taking 3 points and at that time they were a form team in the league as well.

So, some of the performances were OK. And yet add them all together and we had lost 3 games in the league on the bounce. But its six or seven games over a couple of months and it is not what’s required if you are going to be in the top two, three, four of the league. And we did sacrifice our position in the league table by that run and yet, if things go well for us at Millwall we could find ourselves back as high as fourth, probably and not too far behind the top two again. When you think back before Christmas we were ten points and eight points off the top two.

We still have plenty to fight and play for and we have to try and go on a run. If we can win at Millwall, we will go into the Reading game at home. Who knows after that game we could be talking about three successive games and nine points and I’m pretty sure if we win both of the next two games we will probably be sitting in the top three and looking very positive again. It’s just the tightness of this league. We must as a group remain positive and mentally tough to keep going and when we get a setback we have to put it behind us and go again because there are enough games at this moment.

I’m sure Ipswich Town from looking over their shoulder were thinking we could get relegated and then they won four on the bounce. And now are they thinking you never know if we could win the next four we might sneak the play-offs. That’s how daft it is. So, we just have to keep going, stick together and try to win football matches and see where the season takes us. We are very much in the shake up with everybody else and the teams that find the consistency over the remaining part of the season are the ones that will be there or thereabouts.


Q: With playing this game on Tuesday rather than Saturday the positive is that some players are fitter for us but how does it affect our build up for this game and next Saturday?

TM: I think the format of the way it has panned out isn’t the worst for us in the world. If you put into context with the run we’ve had with a cup replay and extra time. Down to ten men on Tuesday night and having to grind out and find the extra legs at the death. I think it was almost a blessing for us to miss the weekend to be ready to go again on a Tuesday whereas our opponents played at the weekend and had to expend energy. Let’s hope we can get the benefits of that and yet I’m pretty sure that Millwall won’t be short of legs, energy, drive, desire because their fans demand that every single game.

But for us the preparation has been fine. We do have to get down there. We do have to spend all day tomorrow waiting for the game to come along tomorrow night and then we do have to get back probably at 3am Wednesday morning. I would prefer to be playing a home game after getting back so late which is what we’re doing. So, we can’t have any excuses or complaints. We have to get on with it and see if we can get six points from the next two games which is never easy in this league.


Fmttm Prediction: Boro to beat Millwall 2-1 and the real Marvin Emnes will step forward with goals.



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