Can Boro Break Duck at Derby?
By Robert Nichols
Thursday 31 Oct 2019 19:27:00
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Boro travel to Derby County on Saturday under real pressure, we simply need to get a result. Boro’s winless run and goalscoring blanks have now landed us third from bottom of the league. Only goals and points now will arrest this slide. With successive away games, the heat is really on for Jonathan Woodgate to get out of the fire.

Go back a couple of matches and it was all about the performance, tightening our defences, tightening our belts and showing we were better far better than the team humbled at home to Sheff Wed and then surrendering in the cross fire at St Andrews. We have competed well since those big reverses. Jonathan Woodgate is right to say we were desperately unlucky to lose to that late goal against league leaders, West Brom. We should have halted the Cowley’s recovery act at Huddersfield and then there was Fulham. Well, talk about looking a gift horse. I said immediately on their keeper being sent off, if only that Howson lob had hit the net. Forget the red card just give us a goal.

All we are saying is give us a goal. That has now become such a problem. But quite obviously it is not a new problem. We had that spectacularly fallow spell under Tony Pulis. He said to me in a press conference, have you ever known anything like it in all your years watching Boro? He obviously hadn’t in all his years in management.

It is easy to say it was the style of football that was to blame and yet we couldn’t stop hitting the woodwork in that spell or hitting the player on the line, or finding a keeper in top form. The shots on target in the majority of those goal-less Pulis games were far high than Woodgate’s last couple of ducks. But that in no way helps us in our current crisis.

We need a break now. To take away that tension. To give us some hope that we can take more than one point. The two forwards have missed big, big chances but we need to get Paddy McNair within shooting range, Lewis Wing within sight of the goal, Jonny Howson in the red zone. Or a Daniel Ayala header looping under the bar. Anything, just give us a goal and ask questions later.

We don’t have a bad record of late at Pride Park, if it is called that again. Riverside 2 with concourse heating and surrounded by fan zones and food stalls. Our Financial Fair Play nemesis. Finding loopholes in the rules cannily bent for them by the EFL. Now sacking their captain rather than the drunken drivers. It all leaves a bitter taste and am not quite sure how the Rams fans will take to casting away their popular skipper in his time of serious knee injury.

Concentrating on our own downfalls, Jonathan Woodgate could do with making a statement in the East Midlands. With George Friend finally on the comeback trail, it would be timely for left back Hayden Coulson to be the player to ram raid into their box and forge some openings. He ought to be fit enough to go the 90 now. His pace and willingness to take on defenders can cause panic. We have certainly missed him since his and Boro’s promising opening to the campaign.  Yet it will take more than one player to turn us around. Can a returning Coulson provide a life for Lewis Wing again? Saville can continue to be the foil for Wing to create and Paddy McNair to try and hammer away at Derby’s defences.

Come on Boro bring down Derby. Ram raid the Rams.


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