*The one and only Unofficial "official" Boro v Preston Match-Day Thread*


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Its that time again>>>>
By r00fie1.

Michael Carrick was asked by a reporter whether he watched Sunlun v Blades on Wednesday night - but Carrick replied "...nah, I didnt watch any football last night. We done our work on Preston yesterday [Wednesday] during the day and prepared for that. Thats all we could control and thats all we`re bothered about really". There was a dry sincerety about his answer and a kind of resigned acceptance of the questions coming his way.

"Theyre a good team. It obviously takes me back to the first one when it all started. Time flies when you`re having fun". They are hard to break down and have threats - "its a tough game for us and we`re looking forward to it". The usual - theres the last nine games to go, how does he feel about the run in? "I`m looking forward to Saturday. Yeah" ;@)) Our Gaffa gives nowt away - hes been asked question like that as a Premier League Winner, FA Cup Winner, Champions League Winner, Charity Shield Winner....Captain of England.....hes not likely to give away his plans or discuss the strategy for the future until we are over the finishing line.


Since October 2022, what`s changed?
"I would say loads has changed behind the scenes from when I came in. I found a really good group of players. A group of people willing to learn and listen and improve and work hard for each other. Thats the same as it was then and its definitely the same now". Sometimes "you can try your best and it doesnt come together. Thats football". "There`s a bit more confidence and belief around the place in terms of the players....".

Carrick elaborated: there`s been a lot of good work around the club. Players have done some good work, but its no big deal. we havent got carried away. We wont pat ourselves on the back because we`ve had a good few months, "its dangerous doing that". The staff and the coaches behind the scenes are fantastic. He mentioned some of the coaches, saying he`d played against most of them, including "I`ve played against Grant [Leadbitter] many times".

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It would have been easy for Carrick to slip into sentimentalism about his career, but he praised "Danksy" and "Woody" for profering different ideas and seeing games through "different eyes". The skill, he asserted, was in bringing those people and ideas together, stressing that they all "fit tgether" in terms of mentality, work ethic and wanting to do better. With the current staff: "I couldnt ask for better". Praise indeed.

Looking back to 29th October 2022:
With Boro being at the wrong end of the table, what did Michael Carrick look at when he started? Did he worry or think "its going to be fine"? Carrick: "I didnt look at it like that, to be honest. I just came in...." Watched the group training and how they went about it and [saw] the quality they had. " never came in thinking about relegation battle, or promotion battle, or mid-table battle. I just came in thinking how can we get the best out the group. How can we improve(?) Genuinely, that was it". Michael didnt see the result as a defeat, but as a starting point - because he saw the potential and quality amongst the players and "saw enough there to think...oh yeah....we can work together and try and achieve something. Thats never really changed, even when we`ve moved up the league. Its the same ideas of trying to become better". Carrick explained the staff have taken a "pragmatic" approach and "small steps". He said Boro were far from the "finished article".

Sonny Finch and upcoming youngsters?
"More often than not, we`ve got younger players coming up to train with us....for experience and for us to look at them a little bit closer and see how they fit in with the group. Its a big change jumping up to the first team.....you never really know" [how those younger players will perform].....a big part for me is bringing younger players on, trying to develop them and give them a chance.....unfortunately you cant give evey single player every chance. Its great to see Sonny involved. Hes trained really well with us over a period of time now and he deserved his chance".
Youngsters such as Haydyn Hackney were playing in front of nobody last year are now up for the big occassiosn. Carrick enthused about giving the youngsters the chance and them coming through the ranks.

Fans role in the coming games?
"Supporters have got a big part to play. In some ways [support] is as big as us, the group and the players, because its the atmosphere and energy thats created. It goes two ways - you feed off it and thrive off it. If we`re playing well and scoring goals they [fans] thrive off it and enjoy it. Its just that understanding....the boys are trying. Sometimes it will come off and sometimes it wont..." Carrick said pointedly that the team and staff have principle about how they play and keep playing to get better and better, developing skills, untill it clicks and "most of the good players come pretty much consistent playing a certain way. So we stick with that". Fans: "Have been incredible since I`ve came, with the numbers ..... the support ..... the noise...... travelling. You go on a journey and the bonds really strong".

"We do what we do and we`re happy with it and we trust it and we`l see what works itself out in the end".

We go again against Preston
Another "Cup Final".
Lets get behind the lads.

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Saturday Championship Fixtures:
[All kick-off 15:00 hrs]


* Swansea City play Bristol City on 19th March. KO: 12:30 hrs.
* On Tuesday 25th March, Sheffield United play West Brom owing to their having an FA Cup match today.


Championship Table:
[17.03.2023 18:26 hrs]


Performance Stats Boro / Preston:

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Top Scorers - Preston:

Ched Evans - 9 [+1 assist]

Emil Riis - 5 [no assists]

Emil riis.jpg

Thomas Cannon - 3 [+1 assist]
Thomas Cannon.jpg

Brad Potts - 3 [+1 assist]
Brad Potts.jpg
Invincibles View:

A Look At Our Hosts


In the reverse fixture between PNE and Middlesbrough earlier in the season, the Teessiders arrived at Deepdale dangerously close to the drop zone and under brand new management in Michael Carrick.

It has been some turnaround since that point, though, with Boro having picked up 47 points in their 20 games following their defeat in PR1.

That’s a run which has seen them surge from the depths of the division right up to the top, and they are now well within a chance of pipping Sheffield United to second spot – currently sat six points behind the Blades.

Going Head To Head

Games played: 106
PNE wins: 34
Draws: 26
Middlesbrough wins: 46
Last meeting: PNE 2-1 Middlesbrough, 29th October 2022

One To Watch

You’ll do well to find a striker in better form than Chuba Akpom right now, with the Boro attacker having netted 24 goals in just 32 games so far this season. He’s been in red-hot form all campaign and he’s showing no signs of slowing down either, with ten goals in his last nine games. Akpom – who came through the Arsenal Academy – has been playing just off of main striker Cameron Archer in recent weeks, a man PNE know well from his exploits on loan at Deepdale last term.

In the following article: Carricks first impressions of his players provide interesting observation and an insight into our then new gaffa:


Michael Carrick's first impressions of his Middlesbrough players and one thing he's asking of them

Michael Carrick is enthused by both the quality and the mood of the Middlesbrough squad, as he expressed his positive first impressions of his newly-inherited players.

Carrick was appointed Boro head coach on Monday and took his first training session the next morning as preparations began for Saturday's trip to Preston North End. Boro are hoping for a lift under their new boss, with the side currently sitting just outside the relegation zone in the Championship.

Carrick is taking a pragmatic approach with regard to putting his imprint on the Boro side so as not to overload them with too much information during a time confidence is perhaps not as high as it could be. The 41-year-old is encouraged by what he's seen on the training pitches at Rockliffe this week, and detailed the one request he's making to his players immediately.

He revealed: “I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen in the first few days. Confidence plays a big part in football. I’ve certainly had it at times in my career where I felt like I was in top form and then other times it becomes a little bit harder. You want to get it to that right feeling where you’re really looking forward to playing and you remember what it was like when you were playing well and your confidence is up.

"You try different things and you express yourself, and that’s what I’m asking of the players - to express themselves and go and be the best they can be. No holding back, don’t worry about what can go wrong, it’s about what you can do to make the difference.

"We understand it’s not a perfect game and mistakes are part of football. It’s about the joy and the fun and the excitement you can create for those supporters who are coming. That’s the beauty of football and I believe in that. There’s a lot of quality there. It’s a good squad and a good team, and I’m looking forward to seeing them in action.”

Carrick did plenty of studying of Boro tapes from this season when it became apparent that he would be likely to take the post on Teesside, ensuring he came in well-prepared for the role. Having said that, he also wanted to give every player a fresh start under his stewardship.
Carrick 3.jpg
The one thing that tapes of games couldn't show him, however, was the mood and the atmosphere around the club. Only by physically being there and in amongst it could Carrick assess that. And much like the quality he's seen on the training pitches this week, the enthusiasm around the place has encouraged him ahead of his first game in charge also.

“I can only speak for the days I’ve been here, but I can definitely sense a positive mood around the place," he said. "The squad have been terrific, and here at the training ground or the people I’ve met locally, there feels a bit of excitement around the place.

"It’s now up to us as staff and players to win games, because that’s ultimately what it comes down to. It doesn’t have to always be pretty or the best way of winning games. But we understand the importance of getting the job done."

Match Preview:

Middlesbrough’s mighty charge towards the automatic promotion places stumbled in midweek with a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke. Boss Michael Carrick highlighted his frustration that the seven-game winning run at home in the league ended but stated that it “could be a big point come the end of the season”. With nine games and 27 points left to play for, it would be foolish to write Boro off just yet.
That’s because Boro are yet to endure a two-match winless streak in all competitions under Carrick, responding to each failure with a win on six occasions. In fact, four of the six victories in the aforementioned sequence saw Boro score at least three goals, with their most recent being their largest ever win in the Championship (5-0 vs Reading).

Preston have been a thorn in Boro’s side of late and could be the team to halt that progress. Ryan Lowe’s men still have some ground to make up on the top-six but a current seven-game unbeaten run (W3, D4) hasn’t harmed that lofty ambition, yet Lowe remained coy on his side’s promotion prospects in the wake of their latest 2-1 win at Rotherham.

His outlook may improve yet further if Preston can notch a fifth win in six H2Hs (W4, L1) against Boro, and the home faithful won’t have forgotten the final day of last season when a Preston win cruelly ended their slim promotion hopes. The absence of Emil Riis will be a blow however, as he has contributed to six of their last 11 goals against Boro (G5, A1).

Players to watch:
Boro’s top-scoring Championship player Chuba Akpom (G23) earned another feather in his cap last time out as he scored their 1000th goal here at the Riverside Stadium since its doors opened in 1995. Preston’s top league scorer is some way off Akpom, yet Ched Evans (G9) could be on for his second run of three straight scoring games this season with a goal here.

Break these down.

They hardly score nor concede.
Probably the most boring team in the Championship:
F 34 A 39 [Boro: F - 65. A - 42.
W - 24
D - 11
L - 12
Play like tuesday i can see anotherfrustrating draw again. Need a big performance.
To be fair, Chuba puts the first away or squares to Archer we are 1 nil up, then his second which hit the bar potentially goes inn, then we break awat for the 3rd, 20 minutes into the game 3 nil up different game, football is fine margins, Srike where the best team, aggressive, physical some good players on form to come to the Riverside in some time, they got about upset our play, credit where its due!

The players need to take risks with the ball and be confident in there ability, we are a really good team and will get back to winning ways today, its goint to be a rollercoaster till the end of the season, lets get behind the players and drive them over the line whether that be finishing in the play offs or second because either will be an exceptional Achievement, considering where we were we Carrick took over!

* I wrote this article originally for this thread, but have extracted it in a post elsewhere on the board.

Saturday 29th October 2022.
Preston 2 Boro 1

It seems a long, long, time ago - when Michael Carrick finally arrived at the Riverside and within days was on the touchline as Boro Head Coach. On a cool afternoon at Preston, Carrick watched a dream start with a Goal from Chuba on 7 minutes. Emil Riis equalised with ten to go before the end of the first half. It was all undone in the 91st minute when Storey headed the winner and Boro were on the way back home pointless.


We wont go over the match reports, but its interesting looking at the starting line- up and asking ourselves how had our squad come to perform so inconsistently since the start of the 22/23 campaign? Wilder had the sack after Coventry and Leo had temporarily taken hold of the reigns, whilst Steve Gibson got his man. We were sandwiched between Wigan and Coventry, in 21st place - with just 17 points from 17 games. Having scored 20 goals and conceding 23 - we had only won four games by that point. In wretched form, we looked like we were only headed one way.
The result at Preston epitomised our season that far. We showed signs of class, with flashes of brilliance, but with a complete lack of confidence we cracked at the most crucial moments. The new gaffa was facing a big, big, job. We knew that.....


The table didnt lie. In fact, it was shocking. After the highs of the previous season, we knew something was wrong when we had a dreadful end of season - ending with a solid stuffing by.....Preston. The season started with promise, but it was back to a complete lack of confidence, both on the terraces and on the pitch. A team of promise and talent needed a new Gaffa - sooner, rather than later.
Screenshot 2023-03-17 at 05-53-48 Highlights Preston North End 2 Boro 1.png

It wasnt working for Boro. Leo had stemmed the flow - particularly with the 4-1 win away to Wigan. It saw Hackney score his first professional goal for Boro. All the ingredients were there - it was just waiting for the right man to mix them together and turn them into a force to be reckoned with.

After the game, in his first interview as Head Coach, Michael Carrick was pragmatic and circumspect in his assessment:

"To lose the game like that stings a bit. But it is one game and I said it would never be a fairy tale from the start, I understand that. It was never going to be perfect, we are trying little things, it is small steps and we will keep trying to improve. There are big moments in games and we have to flip them our way. It is the mentality, just believing, and we will get there."

"I fancied us to go on and win, or at least score again, the way we were building (after half-time). The way we play football is not going to change overnight, that is impossible but we need to keep getting better. It is alright having positives in performances but results matter and we want to create more chances and have more attempts on goal. But we can't have the complete performance from back to front after a few days. As disappointed as I am, and it hurts to lose the game, we have to be balanced and go into Tuesday with a new attitude and new mentality and attack the game like we were hoping to today."

Our next game was away at Hull and no one was banking on a win: many thought a point would be a good result. Hull were three points and three places above us. It was a relegation fight. No one was prepared for what was about to happen to Boro next.



We trounced Hull 3-1 - a pattern to be repeated many times as a wind of positive change swept through the club. It was early days and "typical Boro" fans were still doubtful the season could be saved. But we had a taste of the new Management at Hull and as time progressed we would see a style of play with flare, committment and quality which we hadnt witnessed in many years. We didnt know it back then, but it was the beginning of a new era for Boro. A new chapter and a break from the past. We had a new Head Coach - a man with honours amongst the best players in the world. He had won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, etc, etc, etc....... He was young and inexperienced. But he had a calmness and pragmatic approach, without any swank or swagger. He had Woody on board - a brave move and was soon to be joined by Danksy, Grant and a few others. He was on board with the clubs aspirations and wanted to take the whole club forward. From the academy to the first team. From the office staff and the many behind the scenes. No one was to be left behind.

We didnt realise it back then, but the Carrick Revolution had already begun....

Sources: BBC Sport / SkySports Football / Evening Gazette
Anybody just a bit down after what happened this week? A six point gap when it could have been a lot closer. Anyway, a win tomorrow will make up for it. (y)
It would have been brilliant going into this game knowing that a win would likely put us into the top two. It wasn't to be.

If we win today though the gap is cut to 3 points and let's be honest, fans will start to get excited again.
I see today's game is the main 3pm game for overseas channels, just to let peole know as i'm sure that effect who can purchases the passes
we just need to be near our best today to win. I can't remember the last time we had back to back poor performances.
Safely say if dont win this we can forget 2nd spot unless sheff utd fall off a cliff.
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