Can Boro Take The Sting Out of the Bees?
By Robert Nichols
Friday 07 Feb 2020 11:33:00
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A tough game for Boro as we travel back down to London to take on 5th place Brentford. It will not be the easiest of places to go to for Jonathan Woodgate's team to rediscover the winning habit. But we must dig in and end this little win-less run, to put a final full stop to any worries of relegation pressures returning. Always a good, friendly but competitive atmosphere at Brentford. An end of an era game for us against opponents that like to play the game and harbouring serious play off hopes. Kick off Saturday 3pm at Griffin Park.

Until the recent shock home defeat at Nottingham Forest, Griffin Park looked to be its usual fortress for The Bees. But then they bounced back by pulverising Hull City 5-1 last week on Humberside. So, that is a measure of the challenge on Saturday. And remember the busy Bees defeated us at the Riverside so we need to be on our guard to make sure they do not make history by completing their first ever season double over us.

This will be the last chance for Boro fans to experience Griffin Park, with its open terracing, four sides tight to the pitch and of course famously, a pub in each corner. In short, perhaps the last of the traditional football grounds. No doubt this is why so many Boro fans wanted to experience it one last time.

The good news is that the new stadium is being constructed only a stone's throw away. Although there will not be the corner pubs, many of the drinking houses will still be in close proximity.

Will Jonathan Woodgate look to shake things around a bit to get a result? We need to stem the tide of draws and defeats that have plagued us in our four league games (and two cup) since we had the four successive wins over the festive period. We have no Patrick Roberts of course but Britt is back chomping at the bit for a recall. He might not have had the predator's reactions last game but he threw himself straight into the contest with plenty of strong running and getting in the positions to shape for shots and headers at goal. He could certainly add some bite to the attack.

With another hectic cluster of games ahead of us I wonder if Woodgate will be tempted to bring in either of the new signings. Ravel Morrison could be a gamble at this stage but against a creative side he might find he has the space to operate in most effectively. If Woodgate opts for defender Harold Moukoudi then that could free up either Paddy McNair to push on into midfield or Jonny Howson to do the same. Alternatively the former Norwich man could slot in at right back and Djed Spence could be pushed on forward or even rested.

The other big selection poser could be whether Hayden Coulson is given a chance to follow his goalscoring performance at the Riverside in place of Marvin Johnson. To be fair to Marvin he created a great deal last week and provided plenty of good crosses that ought to have been converted into chances on goal. Woodgate does have the option of using both players down one flank, yet against an open attacking side like Brentford he may feel he has to offer more defensive resistance.

So, we do have real options.

As for Brentford they could see this as an opportunity to blood either Shandon Baptiste or Tariqe Fosu signed in the window from cup heroes Oxford. Time and again Brentford have shown themselves really canny operators in the transfer market and adding to their own exemplary youth recruitment the club has been built on recognising and nurturing young talent. The test now for manager Thomas Frank is to finally make a break through in converting a much-admired club into a play off clinching success. What better season to achieve that in than in their historic final bow at Griffin Park?

But here's hoping we disturb the apple cart tomorrow and take the sting out of the Bees to make it a winning return to London for Boro.

Come On Boro

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