The Final 9: Keep the faith in Karanka
With the pleasant distraction of an entertaining England performance against Germany now out of the way, it is that time when the Boro faithful start to get that all too familiar gut-wrenching feeling as we anticipate a return to league action.
However as we enter April we face one of the most crucial months in the clubs history with a colossal 8 games squeezed into a tight 4 week period- and if this wasn’t enough these games make up 8 of our 9 remaining games in the run-in the reach the promised land.
David Nugent’s last gasp header against Hull City was everything we had hoped for and more after a tumultuous week at Rockliffe Park, however after such an adrenaline fuelled moment there was a clear split between those praising the timing of the 2 week international break, and those simply cursing it.
Whichever camp you fall into- it game everyone at the club enough time to get their heads around the gravitas of next 4 weeks and also gives Karanka and the squad the time to work out the best strategy to get the points tally needed to see us over the line.
For those who haven’t already studied it with a fine toothcomb- below are Boro’s remaining fixtures:
Friday 1st April - QPR - Away
Tuesday 5th April - Huddersfield Town - Home
Saturday 9th April - Preston NE - Home
Tuesday 12th April - Reading - Home
Saturday 16th April - Bolton - Away
Tuesday 19th April - Burnley - Away
Saturday 23rd April - Ipswich Town - Home
Friday 29th April - Birmingham City - Away
Saturday 7th May - Brighton - Home.
It’s a fools game to try and predict the outcomes of the remaining games- with the season so far being as unpredictable as we had foreseen. The run-in sees a real mixture of fortunes in our oppositions championship positioning. However as the run-in unfolds, some teams will partake in their own individual battles and others will be packing up for an early flight to their beach of choice meaning it is very much a lottery knowing what mind-set our oppositions will be in week to week.
- Is Britt Assombalonga’s time at Middlesbrough coming to an end?
- Lewis Wing’s future at Middlesbrough uncertain
As has been the message all season the main focus has to be on ourselves and our preparation. With 8 games in 4 weeks coming up it is inevitable and encouraged for Karanka to use the full depth of his squad so Boro fans will need to be understanding in team selections, and remember that it is going to take the full squad to see us through this brutal run of games.
Teams will be decided on merit, form, tactical decisions and niggles/ injuries so it is vital to keep the faith in Karanka as this is the time of the season where his decision making should pay the highest dividends. But the main thing is sticking together and with the finish line in sight it only requires players, staff and fans alike to stick together over this period and our fate is very much in our own hands.