Boro Can Rev Up Race At Rainlashed Rovers

PHASE two: having got to the top spot it is time to fight tooth and nail to keep it.

We’ve been here before. Under Mogga, Boro were in a promotion spot on Boxing Day and in the post-Christmas games  lost human shield Nicky Bailey to injury, lost their shape, lost their solidity and lost their momentum.

Last year Boro were in a promotion spot and enjoyed a 10 game unbeaten run after Christmas but couldn’t shake off the pack and got caught in a four (then three, then four again) way scrape for top spot and every time they got to the summit they slipped back. They couldn’t quite open a gap. They lacked the mental strength to grab games by the throat and kill them off, although it must be said they were up against two pace-setting teams that stuck in all the and ratcheted up the pressure by the week.

This time it feels different.

This time Boro seem more balanced, more determined, stronger mentally and physically, the squad is deeper and has a wider skill-set,  and the entire club are a year more experienced on and off the pitch. The pundits were gushing after Boro put down a marker with the clinical dismantling of previously unbeaten Brighton and for the first time all season the various sceptics in the home ranks were won over and ready to believe.

It is time to press home that advantage and grow that belief in fertile condition.  At rain-lashed Rovers  the conditions will be awful, they have picked up a bit under Paul Lambert and will be set up to defend deep… we know the drill… but a win there in front of 6,000 travelling Teessiders will underline Boro’s promotion credentials – and set up the bumper crowd home clash with Sheffield Wednesday perfectly. Good displays and good results can widen the gap, ignite the faithful and give us the escape velocity to escape th epack.

Over to you. Don your guessing wellies and predict the score and how the game will unfold and then all back here after the whistle for debriefing and celebrations/recriminations.



57 thoughts on “Boro Can Rev Up Race At Rainlashed Rovers

  1. 1-0 to the Boro,

    But since non-stop rain is forecast in Blackburn from now to KO, there must be some doubt that the game will even start, let alone finish.

    Probably best to keep tabs via the media on your way to the game, gentlemen, and hope for the best.

  2. If the driving rain holds off and the pitch is not waterlogged I think Boro will win or at the very least gain a creditable draw. We have see Boro perform recently on poor pitches where the weather has been a great leveller and has only served to level the quality of Boro and the opposition.

    I think that this time Boro are starting to believe in themselves and their performances and have a mental strength which was lacking last season .

    They are extremely proud of their defensive record and will not want to concede a goal without a fight. Whilst saying that an early goal conceded might deflate them and but them on the back foot. If we start positively like we did at Brighton then there can only be one winner.

    Im not going to predict a foam fuelled high score but will settle for us to win 1 0.

    I don’t expect any changes from the team that started against Brighton and any changes will be made for the Sheffield Wednesday game .

    Those that are going I hope the weather stays fair for you and look forward to reading your predictions and posts.


  3. Seasons greetings one and all.

    With a new man at the helm, Blackburn have got more solid at the back and have gained the 3rd most points in recent matches, but, and this is a biggy, teams like Blackburn are not going to feature come April/May, so we should be doing a Brighton on them if we are to keep a firm grasp on the Championship’s pinnacle position.
    Good luck to everyone going there: not an envious trip on a rain sodden Boxing Day, so let us all hope you all come floating home safely on Cloud 9.

    I have been there many times, the last three times with a free bar before and a meal afterwards: happy daze, when the house of Nobel sponsored them.
    Here’s hoping 2015/16 season is a stepping stone to greater achievements

  4. Strange nobody has mentioned our traditional “Typical Boro” festive slump. The rarefied air from being top must carry a mental invisible cloak to our obligatory Christmas Pudding fallibility.

    I can’t make it due to family duties but I suspect the game has a high likelihood of bring called off which would,mean that we could fall off our perch come tea time. That scenario would provide the added ironic zeal of continuing into the season with a game in hand against Blackburn to come. I just hope it ends better than the last time we had a game called off at Blackburn, Karma?

    If it goes ahead I hope its a decent match and the weather doesn’t turn it into the “pits” of a game. 1-3 to Boro but if its rained all day and night here it will have tipped it down over there trying to get over the Pennines so the 1-3 may end up being the ratio of brollies!

    **AV writes: We haven’t had a post-Christmas slump for ages. First Christmas under AK went unbeaten in January. Last year were 10 unbeaten (seven wins) after Christmas.

    1. There isn’t a festive slump, so much as a post-festive slump. The Gazette pointed out yesterday that we haven’t conceded on Boxing Day for 7 years.

      As for the post festive slump – we didn’t have it last year (10 games unbeaten) and I think the team now has a lot more resilience, so there is little point considering that little bit of hoodoo that has been consigned to the history books.

    2. AV

      For as long as I’ve supported Boro generations of weary cynics always proclaim that Boro “come down with the decorations” and are pre-destined for a New Year slump. Its as sure as night follows day, its an intrinsic part of our Teesside DNA.

      2012 started with a sequence 3 straight defeats then 2 draws.

      January 2013 was when Mogga went to the end of the season with only 3 wins, 3 draws and a mountain of losses just after a double of beating Blackburn on Boxing day and then Blackpool a few days later to see out the end 2012 along with our promotion hopes.

      Far from unbeaten, AK’s first January in 2014 heralded the start of AK’s unwanted record of seven games without scoring (albeit starting at the end of January with Leicester and then Wigan). We drew 2-2 with Bolton away on New Years day then beat Blackpool and Charlton before losing to Leicester 2-0 (when Nugent skinned Ayala at the byline with the ball “out of play”) on the 25th starting the unwanted 7 game record.

      2015 of course was the exception (and a brilliant one at that) but a sequence of one year can’t change the molecular structure of “Typical Boro” ingrained truisms.

  5. There will be mud . .!

    I must say the weather looks awful in UK and not for the faint hearted.

    It will be a scrapper and after seeing Boro\s last match I can only conclude that this will be much of the same.

    At least we know we can head the ball!!

    3-0 then to the Boro

  6. According to BBC weather, rainfall in Blackburn could edge into “extreme”. There must be a chance of cancellation or abandonment. Which would be better, a battle played on a lottery of a pitch or a re-scheduled game in the new year?

    Anyway, a safe trip to everyone travelling.


  7. Can confirm that weather west of the Pennines this morning is truly horrendous. Much as I’d love to see the Boro play this afty, am now of the opinion we have more to lose than Blackburn should this game go ahead. Still, we have to take whatever comes over the course of a 46 game season so happy either way.

  8. Can’t see us losing,a draw at the very least.

    Can’t see the game going ahead if this relentless rain keeps up and it’s supposed to be wetter over there.

    Should it go ahead I would expect a similar line up to the Brighton game,although conditions wont be good for our normal passing game,I would expect to see the ball in the air more than on the ground

    2.0 to us or 1.0 to the weather

  9. I think a game of slippery mistakes if it goes ahead and will Boro be playing in coloured wellingtons. It sounds like a lottery with the weather, if it goes ahead, so here goes.

    Balckburn 1 – 3 Boro

    Boro, no fancy stuff mind.



  10. Weather forecast horrendous so digging out all means of keeping dry for this afternoon. never been to Ewood Park before, a new ground.

    Barring a huge goal difference swing we will be in the automatic promotion places tonight, there seems every chance we could be on our way back to Derby by 3pm.

  11. ‘For the first time all season the various sceptics in the home ranks were won over and ready to believe!’

    Were they indeed AV? Not quite sure about that particular opinion. I also believe some posters were chastised ever so gently for their lack of faith, even though you have written quite clearly that under the previous (I’m in a temporary job) manager we scaled the dizzy heights only to not have the ability to push on and maintain not only top spot but open any form of gap over the pursuing pack.

    What now for ‘Ra Ra’ uncontained?

    Today, if the weather seers are correct with the reading of the chicken’s innards, we are going to see some form of sub-aqua football. Are the ‘Indominateables’ that will take to the pool, I mean pitch, up for a slouching slugout with the amphibious Blackburn ‘Redoubtables’ or will, like when once upon a time I travel across the Pennines in sheets of rain so thick you couldn’t see the car in front, the game is postponed or worse still abandoned.

    In sum, I for one will not be convinced that we will be or are destined for promo until it is a mathematically proven fact. Until that time comes I’ll keep the hidden Ra Ra in me well under control.

    Postscript: It seems that the ‘communication issue’that was hinted at a short time ago by one of our erstwhile contributors, has been acknowledged and addressed, for the moment. One wonders if it wasn’t identified and published on this here blog whether the Boro would indeed be top of the league as they are now?


    No prediction as the weather will be a decisive factor and the motivation of the team, directed by the manager in both his verbal and non verbal communication, will prove to be of utmost importance.

    Then again, the quality in all departments has always been there impotencia, and there should never be any doubts. Then again if it has been there, why didn’t it show through against Hull, Everton, Birmingham, Bristol City and of course Norwich in the play-off final?

  12. For those worried about the game, here is the goal-shipping forecast for today:

    Goal attempts: Northeasterly 4 or 5, risk of heavy depression moving in, 6 to goal 8, increasing severe goal 9 later, perhaps a storming 10 later.

    Nerve State: Rough or very rough, occasionally high later.

    Opposition: Showers

    Visible performance: Moderate or good, occasionally poor.

    Though having checked my usual weather forecast website it appears the bulk of the rain (around 30mm) is due before midday with only around 3mm then expected up until 6.00pm. So providing the ground-staff can clear any standing water before kick-off then I’d wager the game will go ahead – whether the referee may be forced into an early decision before Boro fans start their journey may put the game at risk though.

    Anyway providing the game goes ahead I suspect Karanka may consider resting some players he’d rather not risk on a heavy pitch i.e. Stuani.

    It will probably be a game of errors given the conditions and I’ll go for 2-2 with them scoring first and probably a late red card for a wind assisted power-slide from one of our midfield duo.

    **AV writes: Excellent. Karanka, Ayala, Dogger, Bight.

  13. So that’s that then – as previously predicted (see last post) the weather is indeed the main factor in the outcome of the match coz it’s called off due to water conducive to ducks only. Back to where you were!

    Happy slappy wet and soggy days, everyone!

    1. Agreed, Borophil! In fact, it should keep the lads fresh and dry for Monday.
      It would of course be too much to ask the gods of football to smile upon us by making Brighton lose to Brentford and Derby draw against Fulham.
      Wondering out loud if you and your stalwart associates have found a comfortable warm nook near a public house’s fire and are now tucking into a fine pub lunch AV? Well, where ever & whatever, the wish for a safe journey back to Smogoland goes out to you and all on the same trek.
      Wonder if Jarkko and len even set off?


    2. Fully agree about keeping us fresh plus having that game in hand could be a psychological ace up our sleeves provided we don’t get embroiled in FA Cup ties and subsequent replays.

      Lets hope Brentford and Fulham pull off shocks today and that Burnley and Hull each get 3 men sent off plus a plethora of yellows after drawing or perhaps Burnley winning.

      It will be interesting to see how Brighton respond to their first defeat today at Brentford.

      Mondays games may be even more revealing after our competitors have had to battle and slog through heavy pitches today before having to go again just two days later.

  14. Very unusual conditions always favour the underdog, so, it’s a no brainer for us, game off and glad of it.

    We now have a ticket ( free) for the lottery which takes place this afternoon in which we can’t lose but we can win big time. Brentford/Brighton? Very optimistic. Derby/Fulham? Just pray. Hull/Burnley optimistic. Ipswich/QPR lovely.sheff wed/Birmingham? Pass. Notts Forest/Leeds? Home win please. So, enjoy your afternoon bloggers.

  15. Well, we took off with a flight to Manchester to see the match. We were at Ewood Park about 3 hours before the kick-off and wondered why it was so quiet. Not even Clive over there (sorry, didn’t wait until 14:15).

    When was the last time a Boro match was postponed? Still, Up the Boro!

    **AV writes: Off the top of my head, Boxing Day 2010, home v Forest. The pipes burst in the ground and water flooded the West Stan concourses then froze overnight.

    1. If you’d taken a ball with you Jarkko you could’ve had a Boxing Day slosh about to lessen the damp atmosphere.

      Anyroad, hope your safe and dry, holed up in a welcoming hostelry.

  16. Looking at the scenes in Yorkshire and the North West I think the emergency services have enough on their plates without football fans, traffic and matches to worry about.

    Thoughts go out to those whose homes, streets and towns are ruined.

    **AV writes: yes agreed. People who got angry at being denied the chance to add to the chaos by getting stuck on a flooded road in Giggleswick or Clitheroe and pointing the finger at Blackburn for failing to prevent a biblical deluge need to have a word with themselves.

    1. Some of the comments on FB were unbelievable. It’s chaos in parts over here with rivers at record levels and still rising. The staff in the restaurant in Blackburn were expecting to lose today although they felt that they’d steadied the ship since Lambert arrived.

  17. Sad to think we could lose top spot through no fault of our own, but it’s bloody horrible on this side of the country (I live near Rochdale, which is underwater) and I wouldn’t want anyone to have to travel through these conditions. S**t happens, right, and sometimes there are just more important things than football.

  18. Very sorry for all of you who made the pointless trip to Atlantis today, especially Jarkko and Mrs Jarkko.

    I can’t help thinking this is a blessing in disguise, as fellow bloggers have said, even though it looks like Derby will nick top spot. To have played in these awful conditions would have made the game a complete lottery and could even have given us some nasty injuries.

    But hey, it’s a game called off at Blackburn! I think the Football League should dock them 3 points for not having adequate drainage!! Bear a grudge? Me? Never!

  19. Could be worse, second in the table one point behind with a game in hand and a six point gap now opening up between the top 4 and 5th place Burnley. Its starting to look like 2 from 4 at the moment . Hull +18 and Derby +22 have boosted thier GD with their clean sheets with Boro still at +21.

    Hull couldn’t have stuck in a slump forever and with both them and Derby playing at home today the odds were stacked in their favour for wins. Had we played today in farcical conditions and drew or worse still lost things could have gone a bit flat. Its better that we know we have an opportunity to go top and yet here we are still remaining in the automatic slots.

    Wednesday had a good win today but lets hope its taken a bit of puff out of them for Monday and not boosted their confidence! Adam Reach scored again today, lets hope he can repeat that against Hull on Monday before we KO against the Owls at 5.15. Tuesday night sees Brighton at home to Big Mick’s Ipswich, not an easy game and has a draw all over it. Derby are away to dirty Leeds, again a tricky game especially with Leeds climbing up the form table of late.

  20. 1-0 to the weather then. I was lucky enough not to have left home before it got cancelled, spent the day in the pub with my three sons watching Man U Newcastle (ha ha) and now Arsenal.

    Not too bad a thing the postponement, two games in 8 days instead of two in two. No doubt the rearranged fixture will be on a Tuesday in Feb or March, hopefully not much later than that!

  21. Considering the importance of these fixtures it was a bit unfair that we were due to play Monday afternoon whilst Brighton and Derby had an extra day and a half to recover until Tuesday night.

      1. It’s nice to be back without teacher over seeing his nanny state for 8 months
        Just shows you how cerebral some of us are
        Well done jarsue 159

        **AV writes: Jesus wept. I’ve let you out of quarantine and the first thing you do is have a dig. Grow up. I’m not interested in a pecker contest with a would-be “free speech” martyr. You either accept my right to moderate or don’t post. That’s the deal. Everyone else accepts it.

  22. Never Give Up

    Yes we were scheduled to play Saturday – Monday but so were Wednesday.

    Derby would have had a their next match on Tuesday so a day less to prepare for the match at the Riverside.

    As it is the fixtures appear to have worked in our favour but it is only marginal.

      1. That’s ok Ian

        I see the Sheff Wed manager is complaining now that they will have to play 2 games in less than 48hrs whereas we haven’t played for 9 days and the Football League should have moved our game against them to the following evening

        Does he have any idea of how much planning there is in putting a game on?
        Hardly our clubs fault the game got postponed. Seems like he’s got a ready made excuse for when we beat them.

        **AV writes: There were no complaints back in August when the fixtures came out.

  23. Now the sun is shining in Lancashire. Next stop Yarm. We got advice from the hotel for closed roads. Hope she knew.

    Hope to see a near full Riverside next. I think Wednesday will bring a few supporters, too.

    Up the Boro!

    1. Very Good! – I wonder if there is a soggy fax to the FA asking for permission to postpone?

      Though maybe we should also ask why they failed to drain the water down those 1000 holes that were discovered in the 1960’s – sounds like they could have made a bit more effort…

  24. Werder

    They could have brought in help from the armed forces. It was twenty years ago today but maybe a sargeant could have helped because it was wonderful to be there.

    The problem is the daughter may have been leaving home, I hope she combed her hair and caught a bus.

    What would she have done if he sang out of tune and she walked out on him, maybe he would get by with a little help from his friends?

  25. Ian & Werder

    Clearly better flood defences are needed. I recommend Norwegian wood.

    Meanwhile, Sheff Wed are complaining about playing Eight Days a Week. Let it Be.

    **AV writes: I think they will need ‘Help!’

  26. Tomorrow maybe they will feel that yesterday, all their troubles seemed so far away. After playing in the evening it may be a case of A Hard Days Night.

    If the weather continues to be appalling they may need a submarine, probably be in their away kit so it will be yellow.

  27. Flipping heck AV. A bit spikey there from you. What have I missed?

    **AV writes: Nothing really. He wrote something libellous ages ago and I edited it out and explained why. Then he repeated it and I cut it out again. Then he tried to take a “free speech” position that wouldn’t really stand up in court and kept trying to sneak it through when I wasn’t around. I think he saw it as a challenge or a game whereas I see it as a clear cut legal issue. He refused to accept that so I put him in pre-moderation mode and he can’t help but moan about it as if he was a prisoner on conscience.

    I let him out as a Christmas gesture – goodwill to all men etc – but he still can’t resist making out as if I am operating some heavy handed personal censorship. I can’t be bothered with some playground power struggle to be honest. I need to be able to trust people to not abuse the freedom that auto-publish offers. If they can’t or won’t then I’ll let the machine deal with it.

    1. Fair enough. If you warned him and he keep on he can’t complain really. I’ve never noticed any censorship or editting just a spellcheck function ; )

      1. Btw. Did any of you know there’s an ABBEY Guest House on Newlands ROAD? Divn’t know if the are any STUDIO flats to rent mind?

        J-J-J-Just sayin l-l-like!!


  28. In Moscow – bit chilly outside but so far no pneumonia! Managed to watch the game – good first half, but then in the second we looked like the unfairly treated party. Why didn’t the crowd (in keeping with the festive season) yell ‘HE’S BEHIND YOU’ to Fabbrini (on several occasions)? Dispossession is nine-tenths of his flaw(s)…

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