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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Boro Defeat Ramps Up Pressure on Barnsley match

What was a run of mill league game on Saturday has a whole new load of pressure now. Following on from 2 defeats, W9which ironically as it follows our longest run undefeated of the season, now leads into our longest run with a win this season) means that the game has a new must win status.


For if we fail to win, and additionally everyone else picks up points our season would effectively be over. Should we win then we might find ourselves thrust back into the top 6 with everyone still on. The top of table is still that open.

The Middlesbrough defeat is frustrating for me because we are limping now. Boro have been in awful form in 2013 and had only won once since the turn of the year. Naturally they remember how to play versus us. But I identified this much on the forum saying this precisely the type of game we don’t want.

That crest of a wave we were on is now a wave that has broken. Now we risk drowning in our season and hopes. The Cardiff defeat always looked on. To be honest what we saw as triumphant late draws which symbolised that we just won’t be defeated were actual signs of the beginning of a down turn in form. Because we had been on that rich vein of form previously we didn’t see it like that, we were extending our great run, rather than embarking on what was the run of games without a win. The trouble is this seems to have been a change we didn’t notice.

As I said previously following the Cardiff defeat the international break was awful timing. I said it at the time of the break too, but [people shouted me down as being wrong. We were in fact going to be even better after a break. I couldn’t see the logic then, and now I laugh at it. “We will better after the rest, all the players invigorated” I was told. Well frankly why does that makes us more inclined to win? We weren’t the only team without a game; the whole division had the same so EVERYONE had a break. People couldn’t see this. They get so blinkered by Forest they only see the benefit to us. We will be rested, they will be rusty. Such theory is bonkers. As is the fact that people couldn’t see it breaking momentum.

The Middlesbrough game was the wrong match at the wrong time. We needed an easy home game (this Barnsley match) following the first defeat for Davies. But with a tricky away game, and question marks sneaking in came back to back wins. Now the challenge is to reinvigorate that morale. The players need picking up. If we don’t beat Barnsley, I don’t care about the point’s connotations, the morale will be spent. The players will have been defeated in mind and body. Should we win that game then the boost could carry us back up there. Even if we win and still remain outside the playoffs it would hopefully have gee'd us up to a point whereby we keep ourselves in with a chance going into that Leicester game.

I’ve said it, other bloggers have said, people on Twitter said it. To be where we were at the time was a victory itself, never mind had we made it by the last game. We really have no right to be in with a shout considering where we were, but lo and behold we made it to 5th. That said if we had no right, then Bolton are riding all their luck being in the top few as they were even further behind. Did we peak too soon? Possibly, but then the run of fixtures in late March early April would always be hard to maintain momentum over. Playing a number of teams chasing the dream was always a hard prospect. And so it proved. So I wouldn’t say we peaked too early, you can only do what you can against what’s put in front of you. It happened to be a run of out of sort’s teams, and teams struggling.

Considering our remaining away game is against Millwall whose season now they lost in the FA Cup semi final is over they have nothing to play for. Those teams can be dangerous. Playing with the shackles off, it is simply for fun. Bu tit can go the other way, how do you motivate players who had a Wembley performance recently and had the biggest game of their season at their feet and messed it up and have nothing else to play for? It is eminently winnable. And so we should. But it remains as I say tricky. Leicester have hard games so would easily slip up, and both Palace and Brighton are playing teams struggling against relegation. Those are notoriously hard games you want to avoid. Bolton’s looks the best run in, they play Cardiff who might well be in party mode and Middlesbrough and Blackpool who by then will have nothing to play for.

Last week I’d have said don’t look at other teams, we have fate in our hands, now we don’t, but we still just have to win our games and hope for the best. Remember when went up from League One? That was completely against the odds.

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