Boro v the Bluebirds
By Robert Nichols
Friday 20 Sep 2019 18:10:00
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Boro fans make the long haul south by south west and across the national border to Cardiff. The 290 mile jaunt to the capital of the principality always brings back happy memories of our own big cup success. But that was at the Millennium Stadium, things have rarely been a positive across city at the home of Cardiff City. In fact we lost twice home and away last time we met. That was in their promotion season, when they are out-muscled us with a trademark Neil Warnock physical display.

Now we are locked together in the table 13th plays 14th and both on a 4 match unbeaten run. So, something has to give. Cardiff are bidding to do something that we failed to achieve, bounce back to the topflight at the first attempt. Is that run the first glimpse of form after a stuttering start from the relegated Bluebirds?

Can we keep the run going? This will be a very big test for Jonathan Woodgate’s team, as they start to find their feet. He admitted as much in the pre-match press conference.

“It will be a test,” Woodgate admitted. “And we know what we are going to get. It is a different test for our players. It is a test we will really relish. We have got players in this team who really want to defend. Like we showed the other day against Reading we can do that.”

We might well need Darren Randolph to again produce his very best form. Those saves in the last quarter hour v Reading were quite breathtaking. But everyone will need to be strong and disciplined ahead of the keeper.

There is likely to be a fair amount of aerial bombardment and you would expect former Boro centre back, Aden Flint to play a big part in that. I wonder if we might be tempted to bring back Daniel Ayala to attempt to nullify the big man’s threat. Flint could not hit a barn door in attack for us but barely missed a header in defence. We must be on our guard though that he doesn’t return to the goals form he showed at Bristol City, where he hit double figures in his final season.

Jonathan Woodgate went on to talk to the press at length about the potential of Cardiff new signing Robert Glatzel, another tall in stature. We will have to be watchful of his threat too.

But can Boro’s own BA duo, Britt and Ashley Fletcher find the tools to unlock the Bluebirds defence and notch up some goals? They will need plenty of service and Woodgate has been quick to praise the good work of last week’s goalscorer, Marvin Johnson.

“.. Really pleased with Marvin Johnson. He has come in from his loan at Sheffield United and with last year not playing here at all he has done really well, Woodgate told the media. “He has knuckled down and come back fit but even in some sessions he was doing extra afters to really keep his fitness even higher than the rest of the squad. I am really pleased for him. He has been given that chance and he has taken it.”

There will be plenty of respect for the man in the opposing dug out.

“Neil Warnock has got an immense amount of experience. Seventeen clubs he has managed, spanning over 40 years, 1500 games. So, it will be a different test for me.” But Woodgate has a plan and seems confident in seeing a way to get past his experienced opponent. “I have watched their games they have played this season and I know exactly what my team needs to do.”

Let’s hope so.

Come On Boro

 



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