Only one team was given shorter odds on the Championship title than us at the start of the season, and it was Middlesbrough. So whilst we’ve endured a somewhat mixed start to the season, spare a thought for the Boro fans who’ve – frankly – had to put up with a much less auspicious time of things. In their last six games they’ve lost four of ’em.
Picking through their results this season it would appear that they’re moderately better at the Riverside Stadium than away from it – that said, since the start of the season Ipswich, Portsmouth, Leeds, Bristol City, Millwall and Hull have left Boro without defeat. It’s no shock reading through the list why Boro have found themselves flirting with the relegation zone for much of the season.
Casting an eye over the squad at Tony Mowbray’s disposal it’s hard to put a finger from afar on why they continue to struggle for results. Even the resident Boro fan at work struggles to explain it to me – although geography limits the games he takes in too. On paper it looks like a game where we should be targeting three points to bring about our Christmas cheer early.
Of course, Forest on the road is a deeply unpredictable beast, though – so any kind of overconfidence or brash predictions are likely to leave me with egg(nog?) on my face. Hopefully Billy opts to stick with two up front, indeed, the same two he opted for against Palace. Tudgay and Earnie showed signs of a promising partnership being on the cards. I also want to see a midfield including Raddy.
On the injury front we’ve no fresh concerns – and there’s a chance that recent absentees Paul McKenna and Dele Adebola might be available for selection too. Boro similarly have no fresh injury concerns, and might have Nicky Bailey available to them after he missed their last game with a ‘niggle’.
Of course, all the headlines today have been about Forest’s capture of USA striker Robbie Findley – although he’s unlikely to feature in this game due to his lack of match practice, and the small matter of the two and a half year deal being subject to a work permit. He hasn’t played a high enough proportion of USA’s international fixtures for this to be automatic, but it should go through.
It should be an interesting game – Middlesbrough continue to labour under a tricky run of results whilst Forest are starting to pick up, and will be keen to start to address their continuing wobbles away from the City Ground. You’d like to think it’s a winnable game really, certainly I’d be unhappy with anything less than a draw.
Filed under: News |