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Preview – Middlesbrough v Peterborough United (13/02/2010)

The Opposition:

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After being relegated from the Premiership last season, finishing 19th, Middlesbrough were amongst the favourites for automatic promotion this term however after sacking Gareth Southgate, when the club was one point off the top of the league and appointing Gordon Strachan as his replacement Middlesbrough have slipped down to their current position of 8th in the Championship, but are only two points off the play-offs after an up-turn in form in recent weeks. Middlesbrough have experienced some success in recent times, in the 2004-2005 season they qualified for the U.E.F.A cup, or as it is now known, the Europa League, finishing 7th in the Premier League, ‘Boro’, under former England manager Steve McLaren, then managed to reach the final of the competition but were comfortably beaten 4-0 by Spanish outfit Sevilla. Since Gordon Strachan’s arrival the club has been transformed with Strachan bringing in a number of Scottish players including Chris Killen and Barry Robson, in the recent January transfer window. It is expected that only one player that was in the Middlesbrough squad for the reverse fixture at London Road will be in the starting 11 tomorrow. During this transfer window ‘Boro’ also lost a top talent in Adam Johnson, on deadline day, to Manchester City, the left winger had been a catalyst in the clubs campaign.

The Form Book:

Middlesbrough go into this game on a five game unbeaten streak, their latest win coming against a reinvigorated Barnsley side. The home side have lost 6 league games at their ground, The Riverside, this season though and have picked up more points on their travels than home games. The club are the fourth lowest home scorers in the League this season, with only 14 goals.

‘The Posh’ are still searching for an elusive away victory after being beaten 2-0 by Cardiff during the week.  After picking up just 4 points on the road this campaign and with Peterborough only managing to take 4 points from the last 24 available Gannon will see his side go into this game as clear under-dogs.

Last Time Out:

The clubs met at London Road on 28th November last year, and fought out a 2-2 draw. The game was Mark Cooper’s first chance to try to impress the home crowd. Dave Kitson scored both for the home side, whilst Boyd and a late Shaun Batt wonder goal meant Posh came back from behind twice to grab a hard earned point.

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Key Players:

Middlesbrough: Barry Robson – The Celtic midfielder is a real presence in the midfield, he also will look to get forward regularly and is no stranger to scoring. His record at former club Dundee United is very impressive scoring 32 goals in 145 appearances. He then moved to Celtic where he made 42 appearances for ‘The Hoops’, a very good free-kick taker and a decent passer of the football it will be vital that Posh stop the supply to the creative midfielder.

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Peterborough: Craig Mackail-Smith – The striker has been out of form of late and will be looking to build on his goal tally of 7 in the League. Mackail-Smith bases his game on his work-rate which has made him a crowd favourite at London Road, this work-rate is likely to be needed by Posh as Middlesbrough will look to retain possession for large period’s in-front of an expectant home-crowd. The former Dagenham striker was subbed in mid-week and will be looking to impress new manager Jim Gannon, to make sure he maintains his regular starting place.

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Team News:

Middlesbrough: Gary O’Neil looks unlikely to be fit, as he tries to recover from a groin injury. Chris Killen is also a doubt after picking up a knock in Middlesbrough’s win over Barnsley in mid-week. Julio Arca, Chris Riggott, Rhys Williams and Jeremie Aliadiere all resumed light-training this week but will not start at the week-end. Seb Hines and Matthew Bates have long-term injuries and therefore are unavailable.

Peterborough: Gabriel Zakuani’s troublesome groin leaves him side-lined. But Charlie Lee is expected to return to the starting line-up as he overcame the dead-leg he sustained against QPR.

Match Odds (William Hill):

Middlesbrough – 8/15 Draw – 13/5 Peterborough – 4/1

Please leave any comment on the match, predictions or general discussion, below. There will also be a match thread, on this page, after the game.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Exphotog

    12 February, 2010 at 20:40

    I’m a Boro fan and irrespective of form, league position etc. We are woeful at home and have made a habit of slipping up to struggling sides. (E.G.Losing 1-0 at home to Plymouth).

    Strachan has a completely different philosophy and the club have struggled to adapt, but the introduction of half the Celtic reserve side should go some way to steady the ship. I expect a close game tomorrow.

  2. John Verrall

    12 February, 2010 at 21:34

    I expect you to win though, however poor you may have been at home we have been worse away. We haven’t eradicated the errors that were being made at the start of the season and that is the reason we are struggling. Hopefully however Gannon can bring some of his expertise to the club and it will start to pay off on the pich, but I expect it to be “too little too late”.

  3. boroboy

    12 February, 2010 at 22:57

    I wouldnt say the signings of Scott Macdonald, Steve Macmanus and Barry Robson are exactly celetic reserves. All three were a major part of Strachens last champion winning team as well as playing regular in the champions league. All this i hate to say being a massive Rangers supporter. So dont talk Boro down , theres to much of it. So come on Boro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. gavh

    13 February, 2010 at 00:11

    Good preview John, I like the set out a lot. On the game though, both teams have decent squads, both have brought in players over the last month or so.

    Boro will be the faves despite bad home form, however can Gannon win his second straight match?

    I will go Boro, but if Peterborough steal a point or even a win, Gannon could well be the man you have been lucking for.

  5. boroboy

    13 February, 2010 at 17:25

    20 mins to go, Boro are not the best at keeping clean sheets and you can se it happening. Come on Middlesbrough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Exphotog

    14 February, 2010 at 21:18

    As predicted it was a close fought contest. As a former Yaxley resident I tend to keep half an eye out for the Posh, particularly as I used to pop along to London Road on the few occasions I couldn’t make it to the Riverside. (The Barry Fry years)

    All the best for this season, early days but Gannon looks a good choice. It may be a touch too late to recover this season but I’m sure you’ll bounce back.

    In the meantime if you could stuff the Geordies for us though you’ll all be on our Christmas card list for a long while!

  7. John Verrall

    14 February, 2010 at 21:33

    It was a very close I thought we were unlucky to come out of it with nothing, despite playing poorly for the first half-hour I thought we were the better team after that, once we settled.

    I am very optimistic with the appointment of Gannon and whatever happens I think he is the right man for the job, we retained possesion better yesterday than we have for a long time.

    I can’t see us getting anything out of Newcastle Exphotog but there are off form so you never know!

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