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Boro v Barnsley 3-1 (Ayala,Traore,Bamford)

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We've been decent at home recently, three wins a row and I reckon we'll get another. Looking at the next 10 games, you would have to say this our 'easiest' remaining game apart from maybe Burton away. Fingers crossed Milwall and Ipswich will be on the beach come the end of the season, but most of our other games look tough. Thankfully Derby have thrown everyone the lifeline of a 2nd play-off spot up for grabs with their shocking 2018.

 

Same team to start - fingers crossed Traore is fit. Brum wasn't great, but I do sometimes think those narrow wins look worse through the eyes of a fan - that includes listening to BBC Tees. Most neutral reports had it down as a routine win where we were happy to be 1 up and never looked like conceding... Cardiff rack those 1-0s up week in week out.

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At this stage of the season these games are starting to become must win games. We need to keep up the pressure on Derby ahead of us and make sure we stay ahead of the teams behind us. Three teams are ready to overtake us if we slip up and we can't allow that to happen. Looking at the fixture list there are some tough games for the teams around us although Bristol have Burton away. Could be a massive weekend this if we manage to win. Must win.

 

Unchanged lineup barring injuries. Don't think Shottons injury at Brum will rule him out and I expect Adama to be ready.

 

I'm sure we've already lost 3 or 4 "must win" games this season, so our season is over already right?

 

Not necessarily... but you normally need 75ish points to get in the play-offs. Lose to Barnsley & Burton, then we'll have to be beating Wolves or Brentford - not impossible, just much harder. The points have to come from somewhere.

 

Kind of like last season when we screwed up against Palace, Swansea & Hull. They were 'must-win' as despite being mathematically able to stay up we were very unlikely to beat Liverpool, Chelsea, Utd in our run-in. 

 

Which is my understanding of when people say must-win anyway....

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On paper this looks like the perfect game to continue our good run of form and build up a head of steam going into some very tough fixtures.

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The international break might be bad for us and a good form/run, IF we win against Barnsley and draw/win against Brentford, as we will face Wolves after that break...

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Boro fans will hold a minutes applause on the 17th minute after two 17-year-old fans were tragically killed in a crash near Thirsk last night

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I can unexpectedly go to this one, having thought until last night that I had other plans this Saturday. If we play anywhere near as well as we did against Leeds last time out, (or Barnsley are anywhere near as bad), then I can't see us having much trouble.

I'd like to think we can get comfortable early, so we can give our walking wounded a bit of a rest in the second half. Shotton, Traore and Bamford have all been carrying injuries, and they are just the ones we know of!

Having said that though, we have a week before the next match, so hopefully we should be okay either way.

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I can unexpectedly go to this one, having thought until last night that I had other plans this Saturday. If we play anywhere near as well as we did against Leeds last time out, (or Barnsley are anywhere near as bad), then I can't see us having much trouble.

I'd like to think we can get comfortable early, so we can give our walking wounded a bit of a rest in the second half. Shotton, Traore and Bamford have all been carrying injuries, and they are just the ones we know of!

Having said that though, we have a week before the next match, so hopefully we should be okay either way.

 

Have they been carrying injuries? I know Shotton looked like he had taken a knock on tuesday and Traore may have had cramp but what about Bamford?

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I can unexpectedly go to this one, having thought until last night that I had other plans this Saturday. If we play anywhere near as well as we did against Leeds last time out, (or Barnsley are anywhere near as bad), then I can't see us having much trouble.

I'd like to think we can get comfortable early, so we can give our walking wounded a bit of a rest in the second half. Shotton, Traore and Bamford have all been carrying injuries, and they are just the ones we know of!

Having said that though, we have a week before the next match, so hopefully we should be okay either way.

 

Have they been carrying injuries? I know Shotton looked like he had taken a knock on tuesday and Traore may have had cramp but what about Bamford?

 

In the Gazette yesterday, they reported that Pulis had said Bamford didn't train before the Birmingham game with a hamstring problem. Obviously he played 80-odd minutes, so we can assume he's probably okay, but it's still not ideal.

Traore having cramp was just an assumption by people on here/BBC Tees, not fact. There has been no word from the club why he came off, but he was definitely limping.

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Ah OK. Hadn't seen the thing about Bamford. I don't think Traore looked particularly injured. He had just recieved a tackle so it looked like it was just something to walk off. He wasn't in the game at all in the second half and only seemed to touch the ball when we had a corner so I think the sub was planned from Pulis to have us win the midfield battle.

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Boro fans will hold a minutes applause on the 17th minute after two 17-year-old fans were tragically killed in a crash near Thirsk last night

 

That’s very sad.

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Besic and Friend both doubts for tomorrow and will have late fitness tests

 

Besic has a minor hamstring problem and Friend has an unspecified injury

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Friend would be a big miss. Not due to form, but due to Fabio also being unavailable. Replacing Besic would also mean the current system is far less balanced and lacks the dynamic needed to make Bamford less isolated.

 

If they're both out, I'd probably go with;

 

GK - Randolph

 

RB - Shotton

CB - Ayala

CB - Gibson

LB - Cranie

 

DM - Clayton

CM - Howson

CM - Baker

RW - Traore

LW - Downing

 

ST - Bamford

 

Alternatively you could do 4-2-3-1. Harrison left, Downing 10 and Traore right. I'd try and keep the system though and hope Baker steps up and keeps that dynamic link up.

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Bamford hasn't trained since the Birmingham match with a hamstring problem Pulis hopeful he'll be ok for tomorrow

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Bamford hasn't trained since the Birmingham match with a hamstring problem Pulis hopeful he'll be ok for tomorrow

 

Jesus Christ...

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Bamford hasn't trained since the Birmingham match with a hamstring problem Pulis hopeful he'll be ok for tomorrow

 

No worries, time for Britt to score a hat trick ;)

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