Can Boro End Jose Cup Dream
By Robert Nichols
Sunday 05 Jan 2020 12:10:00
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Rampant Boro have a golden opportunity for cup success in this afternoon's 3rd Round Cup tie against Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur. Jose Mourinho will be targeting the FA Cup for his usual first season success and to show he can achieve what his predecessor, Pochettino, could never attain, silverware. Kick off at the Riverside 2-1pm.

With a run of wins behind us, Boro go into this game without any pressure. When the draw was first made memories of the thrashing at Elland Road were still fresh in everyone's minds and we feared the worst could happen and we would might be well and truly picked over before a live TV audience. But with four successive home wins and four wins home and away confidence is high and relegation worries have been banished. We can actually try and have a go at this one and make ourselves giant killers.

Boro have slipped up on too many banana skins ourselves in the cups over the past couple of years. Woodgate's Boro penalty defeat to Crewe came hard on the heels of Pulis Boro dismissal by Burton and then Newport last season. But a new year can mean a new resolve and a chance to bury those memories. And some of the players that fell in South Wales could well take the pitch again today with every chance of a full pardon.

Jose was brought to Spurs to win trophies. Simple as that. And no matter how many players he rests today he, the owners and fans will be fully expecting to be in the 4th round draw. Except they are without inspirational skipper, Harry Kane and except they are experiencing an awful downturn in form and that means all sorts of doubts are creeping in.

The mask slipped last week when Mourinho was booked for “being rude to an idiot,” from the opposition bench. The mild mannered, matured, calm, reasoned Jose sounded not unlike the un-saintly latter day Man United boss.

Boro have acted swiftly in the transfer market and can add new loan signings Patrick Roberts and Lukas Nmecha to the squad. It would be great to see them involved, possibly off the bench. But Boro have plenty of attacking options with Ashley Fletcher in confident goalscoring mood, expect cries of shoot when he is anywhere beyond the half way line. Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson could be flying at Spurs down the flanks, that will also tie up Spurs attacking full backs. Although Marvin Johnson could be preferred down the left, his crossing was spot on at Preston and with the possibility of big Rudy Gestede as a targetman that might be an interesting option. Talking of Rudy he could well frighten what has been a very vulnerable Spurs defence and they will not come up with many threats as robust in the Premier League. Expect Tav to be speeding about as well taking on Spurs with his direct game.

Sadly we will have to find cover for Daniel Ayala. The captain will be missed. Could McNair again play alongside Fry and Howson to plug the gap?

Son is available again for Spurs. I recall the South Korean tearing us apart in our last Premier encounter. He seems to step up even further when Kane is not around, as he did that day. Whatever side they field, it will be studded with big match experience. So, we should in no way underestimate this challenge. Jose and his troops might be down on their luck. But they are still a division apart. They reached a European final and are again gunning for and in the Champions League.

That all serves to make it such an exciting prospect this afternoon. A real David v Goliath 3rd Cup Tie. I don't know about you but I cannot wait. If you haven't got your ticket already, what are you waiting for get to the Riverside at once and snap one up. The earlier the better as there is certain to be big demand.

Remember kick off is 2.01pm because before every FA Cup match this season there will be a short film about mental health narrated by Prince William. A short 1, 60 seconds, film narrated by the Duke of Cambridge will be played at FA Cup matches to encourage football fans to look after their mental wellbeing. This is a superb initiative that can only be praised. We are all in this together.

Come On Boro and Up The Boro

Oh and why not grab a quick listen to our Special Cup Tie podcast.

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