Middlesbrough Preview

This is quite funny. Setanta Sports asked me to go on tonight to do the punditry on the Middlesbrough game tonight. They just called to say that unfortunately they are having to stand me down as they can’t find a Middlesbrough fan to go on with me. LOL.

Anyway, I hope we have a good contingent going up there to cheer the boys on. I am sure they will be totally up for it. I have a feeling that Zola may make a few changes today. One forced changed will be to replace James Collins, so I imagine Tomkins will retain his place and that Lucas Neill will replace Spector at right back. I wouldn’t be surprised if Di Michele was replaced by Sears or Savio, either. Radoslav Kovacs is also tipped to make his debut as a replacement for Mark Noble in midfield. Noble is suspended for the Man City game and there are rumours that he took a knock against Bolton on Saturday.


50 Responses to Middlesbrough Preview

  1. Dujon says:

    I would love to see Savio start, i feel that Zola would start him over Sears as well, as Savio seems to be more calm on the field from what i’ve seen/heard.

    I’m busy doing an assignment now so can’t say much, but what can we say. What a great excuse!

    Ah well at least they wanted you in the first place, so they have some clue πŸ˜€

  2. Re your Boro stand-down… methinks we could have been a little mischievous here and put up a ‘ringer’ to sit beside you… that would have been a laugh… Goatygav and The DaleMeister both commentating. πŸ˜‰

    Re tonight’s team. Shame Joan can’t play but Terror Tomkins is an admirable replacement. The match could turn out to be a classic cup tie, I reckon. All those chances that have gone begging in recent weeks, will fly into tonight. My prediction is that we will sneak a five-goal or seven-goal thriller.

    And finally… Re your twitter note about the sad news of David Cameron’s son… I think you were right to not make yourself available for comment. Respect.

  3. devo says:

    anyhoo you don’t want a boro fan next to you he would stand up all through the game

  4. DevoDevo says:

    We know that we will pass Boro off the pitch tonight, my concern is our finishing without the Welsh dwarf has been woeful. We beat Hull 2-0, when it should have been 10, missed 3 or 4 gilt edged chances against Boro, when not playing at our best and then played Bolton off the park, missing 4 or 5 major chances.

    Two scenarios: We dominate and fail to score 0-0 or 1-0. We find our shooting boots and win 0-2 or 0-3.

    Looking forward to seeing Kovac play. I would also bring in Savio for DiMichele. I would also retain Spector at RB, who I think played well on saturday and deserves a run in the side. Excellent interview with Spector on Just Like my Dreams for anyone interested.

    Well done to the 4000 travelling. The support at Bolton was excellent and as Boro fans have been told to be quiet, we should hear Bubbles quite clearly tonight!

  5. Eddie Chappers says:

    Respect to the 4000+ fans going up to the north east for a midweek game, I hear the coaches have just passed Peterborough.

    Im not my usual optimistic self for this one but if we play as well as we did against the Trotters (minus the first 11 minutes) we will be fine. DiMichelle to rediscover the back of the net, 1-3 WHUFC……COYI

  6. Rocky10 says:

    DevoDevo is your view that you will paas us off the park based on the first game?

    Strange thought it was quite a good game but being the away team I thought we held the ball well in the first half.

    The game elly could have ended up 4-4, can’t see where you get all this optimism from; you’ve lost Collins n Cole(2 of your standouts in recent weeks) and we conceded very litle at home.

    Should be tight match and don’t be surprised if it’s pens at gone 11.

    Hope you boys have booked a day off tomoz.

  7. iron man says:

    I would like to see Savio start, he just needs a bit
    more time on the pitch to boost his confidence. He seems pretty good at free kicks and with Noble not playing we will need that. I hope our recent lack of scoring form is a blip and we get back on track this evening. A couple of early goals would be nice and then hit them on the break. 3 – 1
    COYI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Rocky10 says:

    Boll ox you don’t get the oppurtunity to edit

  9. Who takes pens in Noble’s absence? Not C Cole, please, in spite of his rejuvenation.

  10. Roymondo says:

    Zola said before the Bolton games that there would be changes over the next couple of games. Collins is an enforced one and, if Noble is unfit, that’s another. And he is definitely out for Man City through suspension.
    I think that Spector did well enough on Saturday to retain his place but I guess Neill will play at right back. Time for Kovac with Parker pushing further forward and Savio playing off Cole. Time for Di Michele to have a rest.
    My team would be:
    Spector, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga
    Behrami, Kovac, Parker, Collison
    Savio, Cole

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of youngsters were on the bench tonight or Sunday and they might even get a run out if the game has gone well.

  11. Englandsnumber6 says:

    Boro are 2nd from bottom for a reason, they are crap, we should play them off the field tonight, i predict a comfortable win, and with Everton loosing players quicker than an Etherington yankee, we should make the semi’s .
    Heres to the wembley final we should have been at in 05.

  12. Big Casino says:

    I think Di Michelle will start, which will be scandolous, not only on his last performance, but every single performance of his, barring Newcastle (where I thought he was rubbish but scored twice – though one was a massive deflection) and Hull, where to my total and utter surprise he actually looked like a footballer and played half decent – but everyone can have lucky games.

    Di Michelle is utter trash, and Tristan ain’t much better.

    Sears or Savio to start ahead of him, with Neill back at RB. I know Neill isn’t a particular fans favourite but I think he’s an excellent captain, and this year, unlike last year, his performances have been pretty decent aswell.


  13. djclipz says:

    I agree DevoDevo, spector didn’t do too bad the other night and also set up the goal!! i never actually realised he was only 23 too, thought he was much older!

    Im predicting cole to find his scoring boots again tonight from an inswinging savio cross!!! Yes Please!

    wouldn’t mind seeing Kovac aswell, he must be fit now and raring to go!! I also see Ngala travelled with the squad but fully expect tht to just be a bench appearance maybe!

    COYI, we have unfinished business with Everton after there stupid last minute winners last time!!

  14. DevoDevo says:

    and let’s not forget Everton are missing some big players at the moment…

  15. Big Casino says:

    I would add that Sears and Savio need to be judged on a run of games, not just on tonight, whether they play good or bad.

    Di Michelle has been a long run and has only really cut the mustard in the Hull game. But he’s had his chances.

    We need to give Sears/Savio a similar amount of time before judging them.

  16. IronMick says:

    Really looking forward to the game tonight! For some reason being live on terrestrial TV makes it all the more special. I was going to go up on the coaches but having to take off a day and half off from work was a strp too far, maximum respect for all those travelling. Our away support coupled with Boro’s ( sit down and be quiet) lack of should make this feel like a home tie!
    I hope to see Kovac start with Parker pushed forward, after his goal at the weekend lets hope he is in the mood for more. Cole and Savio to start please!!
    I predict …… 1-3 πŸ™‚

  17. Paul M says:

    good luck tonight lads, i feel like we might need some. Can’t see it being a high scoring game, may even go to pens !! Come on Greeny, England’s number 1

  18. IronMick says:

    Following on from what I said about Savio starting – it will be nice to see him take corners and free kicks as he seems pretty decent from a dead ball. I’m a fan of Nobel but his corners are consistently woeful. We never look threatening from deadball situations even when we push up Ginge and Upson – hopefully with Savio this may change.
    DiMichele has had a run of a few games and has failed to impress, time for a change!

  19. IOWHammer says:

    I think we will get a result tonight, after all Di Michele did promise Zola two goals in his next game!!!! Well done to all those travelling if they make half the noise of those that went to Bolton it will sound like a home game. Shame you won’t be on the box Iain, you had some good quips last time, loved the ‘i feel sorry for you having to watch this every week’ when we were 2-0 down, class mate. Anyway 2-0 to us with DM getting both as promised. Well maybe not.

  20. Basildon Bob says:

    Bit wary of Boro, they are a team in free fall and are looking for a catalyst to kick start there season. A good cup run could well be it.

    A friend of mine took me to the new Col Utd stadium for the Essex derby at the weekend. Quite possibly the worst game of football I have ever seen. Col Utd stiker, Scott Vernon, missed a sitter for about 2 yards out. It was that bad that it went over the east stand!! Put’s some of the players we complain about into perspective!

  21. James says:

    What ever happens let’s hope our lot beat the boring side that is the Boro, I have no love for teams who constanly like playing defensive tactics, Let’s show there players and fans what they are missing, COYI!

    Tonight is all about Behrami the Rottweiler!!

  22. JackHammer says:

    I was at the Bolton game and I thought Spector did very well, his game is honest and energetic, he is fast too.
    Kovac comes with an excellent CV but it would be brave to start him.
    Tomkins looks like a natural, confident and ambitious.
    Di Michele has been poor the last two games but is worth his place when on form, ( Big Cas is unfair to him) and Savio isn’t a natural replacement although very skillful, I think a half for Sears and then Di Michele is the best solution.
    It is going to be a good tie and on ITV as well, I haven’t seen the team playing such an attractive style of play ever, we just need a few more results as reward.
    I thought I saw T. Brown at the Reebok and wondered what he was doing there, thinking of buying the club back again would raise the roof.

  23. rob says:

    great chance to reach semis as everton are very understrengthed now.

    Spector Tomkins Upson Ilunga

    Kovac Parker
    Savio Collison Behrami


    Give collison savio and behrami freedom, and i would put savio on the right his crossing looked a real threat but he strikes me as one footed!!!!

  24. WHTID says:

    wouldn’t mind having a look at that lopez tonight !!!!!!! see what his about

  25. James says:

    Honestly think we should go back to the diamond 4-4-2 tonight, Parker is made for the holding role so that would effectively leave Kovac out unless they make Parker the attacking Midfielder!

  26. Tony says:

    Predictions time. I`m going for a tight 2-1 . Cole and anyone else for us. One in the first half and one just after the start of the 2nd half, they then get a goal on about 75 mins and we sweat/bite finger nails etc etc throughout the next 15 mins and 5 mins of extras , but pull off a fantastic cup away win!!!


  27. scott says:

    Rob, i like the look of that formation and think that would be effective. I would bring Lucas back into the team tho. He has been playing well this year, as have all of our defence so the nearest to the normal back 4 we can get the better. Tomkins played well at bolton, i don’t think he is quite what ginge is just yet but has improved since yakubu got the better of him last season. I agree with resting noble, for me has been the worst of our midfielders lately so beinging in Kovac is fair enough.

  28. Roshi says:

    Strange game tonight with “banana skin” written all over it. This really is the type of game we would, in the past lose, however with our new brand of football I cannot see us losing although with the way Boro play I cannot see it being a great spectacle either. Maybe 1-0 or even penalty shootout.

  29. Rob, when you put Collison, Savio and Behrami in a foraging trio like that we suddenly look quite potent. I’m with you on that one.
    Also, I think Collison has some quick feet for one so tall.
    Can’t wait for kick off.
    Anyone going to be around for an on-line chat during the match? I’ll probably be here for the first half but am out playing six-a-side at 9.30, so will miss the climax.

  30. Hockley Hammer says:

    0-0 extra time and pens. Can’t see us scoring. Rob Green to be our hero.

  31. Roshi says:

    graybomeister, two words for you…….Sky Plus…

    And Iain, do you really think it is sensible having the Chairman of the Tory party on Twitter. He will follow your every move!

  32. Roshi… I know, but it’s not the same, is it, as seeing it live. I can’t roll in at 11.15 and then watch the rest of the match, knowing that the rest of you are either on cloud 9 or kicking cats up and down the country.

  33. Ian Grow says:


  34. andyhammer says:

    I agree with Devodevo. I was impressed with Spector on Saturday, but I don’t think he will start ahead of Neill our captain. Zola seems to like him very much and will think we need his postive influence tonight.
    I can’t stand Di Michele. He is a terrible finisher and we will ship points if we continue with him much longer. However I feel Zola will start with him again- remember he mentioned that Di Michele said he will make up for the misses against Bolton with 2 tonight.
    I don’t think the loss of noble will hurt us too much either – in fact I think it could prove a positive due to Noble being a little ineffective lately in my opinion

  35. jeffreybubbles says:

    I’m sorry to disagree with a lot of comments.This is my first input onto this wesite.or any other come to
    that.But i’ve seen the mighty hammers on t.v.a lot
    recon di michele is class.it was sheer fluke he did’nt
    score against bolton.I fancy him to get on the score sheet tonight.i’ve been a Hammers fan since about 8 years old.1968ish.I live in Norfolk so can’t get to
    up as often as I used to,back in the 70’s or 80’s.

  36. Goatygav says:

    Afraid I would do a terrible job Graybo. I just couldn’t disguise my disdain for ‘Boro and their fans. Plus do you reckon they’d let me go on in Claret and Blue? πŸ˜€

  37. Yeah, but I have a sneaking feeling you could do the accent. And the way you described that championship-winning Subbuteo move … it really came alive.

    It just struck me that we could really have a lot of fun winding up the Boro fans by ‘planting’ one of our own to agree with everything that Iain says. Santa might rumble it, I grant you, and if our mole turns up wearing claret and blue that would be a dead give-away.

  38. Goatygav says:

    I reckon we’ll see a very strange dynamic about tonight’s game in that the neutral observer will probably think we’re at home (Fans more noisy – Team doing most of the attacking etc).

    I hope our 4000+ “Rock the Riverside” tonight. Up and at ’em from the first whistle. I really think we’re going to give them a lesson tonight.


  39. Goatygav says:

    ROTFLMAO!! Yeah – it’d be fun. Just couldn’t bring myself to wear their colours though.

  40. Goatygav says:

    Would definitely be up for a chat but my Bro’s coming over from Reading to watch the game at ours tonight so I’ll probably have a couple of beers with him. Six of us, him included, have got tickets in the East Stand Upper, near the Bobby Moore, on Sunday so I’m hoping tonight will tee that one up nicely.

  41. DevoDevo says:

    Fellas – I’ve posted a Hammer of the year version of our greatest side on Iain’s final poll results.

    Take a look.

  42. E1 says:

    DevoDevo spot on spector should stay in for this one and I really hope Savio gets 90 mins, would’nt mind seeing Lopaz either at some stage he’s done well in the reserves.
    GoatyGav: My mates got a whippet you can borrow you could take that and go casual.

  43. hammeredCalv says:

    DDM show tonight ! hatrick !!! just to shut the doubters up !!! Zola and Clarke pick him for a reason,i think they know more about football than some on here !!!

  44. I had to look that up in the urban dictionary πŸ™‚

  45. hammeredCalv… I hope they know a heck of a lot more than ALL of us on here put together !!!

  46. E1 says:

    Well said graybomeiter,if they don’t then I think we may be in trouble before the end of the season !!!!LOL

  47. E1 says:

    HammeredCalv: I hope IF,DDM plays you are right and I for one won’t mind being proved wrong but based on his last few performances I would be suprised if he stars.

  48. Sears and Kovac… well, let’s see what you can do, boys…
    Show us your stuff.


  49. hammeredCalv says:

    seem to have hit a sore point with some of you regarding DDM, my point is he is a match winning style player, Nani bought him as a great sub/back up player that is capable of changing the game, he is the better striker that we have fit and available at the mo, so i would rather support the players than knock them !

  50. Rocky10 says:

    Well this thread ended abruptly.

    And as for passing us off the park, what happened there.

    Having read the comments there seemed to be a lot of chicken counting going on prioir to the match.

    Lets face it neither of the two teams on show tonight should have any dillousions of grandure.

    But hopefully we may get past Everton and upset a few mancs along the way.

    By the way your passing to me was OK – but very narrow

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