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The Internationals are over (well almost) and our attention draws us once again to the ups and downs of life in The Championship as we get into the real nit and gritty part of the season, games are running out fast and teams are concentrating on achieving promotion be it through the automatic spots, fighting for the four remaining play off spots or trying to stave off relegation, yes it's all getting very interesting now.


A unique and one off game is being played on Saturday 30th of March 2019 kicking off at 1730hrs and live on TV for all the world to see at The Captain James Cook Stadium aka The Riverside Stadium between play off hopefuls Middlesbrough and auto hopefuls Norwich City.





It was not that long ago that a hopeful Boro travelled to Norfolk to face a Norwich City side that was prior to the game in a very disjointed state and could not string a set of results together to save their lives, those of us that travelled were fairly confident that our decent run would continue and that we would add to Norwich's woes.


What did we know, Norwich were there for the taking, not playing well but the Boro team did what we know only too well in giving the game to Norwich which perhaps was the catalyst of them going on such a good run and rich vein of form that has propelled them to top of the league, clear by 5 points and as we are kicking off after all other games knowing what they need to do to get those few points closer to promotion.


Ironic that the name of the stadium is associated with sea fare because the way things are with Boro just now the game has all the credentials of Boro sailing down the Swaney River and sinking towards mid table obscurity should we fail to win, indeed if results go against us we could very well be 8th in the league even before a ball is kicked.


So is this sink or swim time? Will our players find their footballing feet or will we be strutting around on sea legs with no balance?


Recent Form


Last 5 games


Norwich WWWWW

Boro      LLLDW


What will/should TP do?


Everything Tony Pulis has tried to do recently simply has not worked, formation changes, player changes you name it so what do you hope? Our form has dropped so badly since George Friend has been back in the team and the reintroduction of certain other players, my hope he goes for youth.


Injury News


None that I am aware of so a full squad can be considered for the game.


Other games of interest.


WBA V Birmingham on Friday evening

Leeds V Millwall

Forest V Swansea

Villa V Blackburn

Derby V Rotherham

Sheffield United V Bristol City


A view from Downsouth


Being and witnessing the Villa Park performance to me showed that we are not tough enough nor have the skill to have been a top two contender so the play offs it is...…………...or is it?


As mentioned we could be out of the play off spots which once we so comfortably held due to our woeful recent form and the upsurge of one or two teams. Certainly I am thankful that Bristol City are away to Sheffield United and a defeat is well on the cards for them, plus we have our game in hand next week but the form of Villa and PNE are worrying and hey City might surprise us so the onus is down to Boro and what they want to do.


It really is sink or swim time because we can no longer tread water.

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0-3 and our dismal form continues. I just don't think the team believes in Pulis anymore and realistically I don't think they have for a while. Norwich will come looking for the three points from kick off while Pulis will try and keep it slow and tight which will ultimately result in an early goal for the visitors and that will be it. I firmly think it's going to be a repeat of the last outing against Villa. Hopefully it'll be Pulis' swansong and he will be gone before the weekend ends (although it won't happen regardless of how we fare in the game.)

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Same as I said about Villa, anything less than a 3-0 defeat will be a good result for this side under Pulis. Team to be booed off and nothing will change as usual. Seems very pessimistic I know, but would be interested to see anyone argue that this is not the most likely scenario.

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If Norwich bring their A game then they should win this fairly comfortably, if some of our players want away then I don't see them being fully focused on the pitch. Norwich will be kicking themselves if they don't leave the Riverside with 3 points. Hard to have any confidence in this side. with this negative set up.

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We haven't been beaten in two weeks.

Norwich haven't won in two weeks.

How could it be anything other than a Boro win?


Have you seen Pulis’ notes for his pre match speech? He will be thinking along those lines for sure.

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Sign of the times as far as Boro are concerned, I did not even get a like for my op!


Sorry Alan, I got distracted by the immediate negativity that followed your OP. I thought it was an excellent OP and am looking forward to seeing how you cope with the short turn around for the Bristol City game :)

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I'm with others on this and i'm fearing the worst a heavy 3-0 defeat i think, fortunately i'm not going to be able to watch it as i'll be setting up my work gear from around 6. Would love to be proved wrong but i just can't see it.


I can see him going 4-5-1 again with Hugill up front, and unless we get a penalty, can't see us scoring.

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