* The Unofficial "Official". Boro v Watford. Match-Day Thread *


Well-known member
Its that time again>>>>

Is Zak "under srutiny" (?) -

"Not from me! I dont know why? I`ve got no problem with Zak"! [Michael Carrick]

Six days is a long time in football and much can happen. Whats done is done: that appeared to be the message yesterday from Michael Carrick in his Media Conference. Certainly, he was aware we hadnt performed to our best and he was disappointed with Daels red card. But he didnt dwell on it and refered to the comments he had made following the Sunderland game.
One of the main concerns this week was the question of transfers, with one or two of the reporters probing to find any scraps regards incoming and outgoing deals: Michael, as always said he had nothing to report and we would all have to wait and see. He did comment that "work......is always going on" to make things better and improve the quality of the squad:-

"Its about getting the right players in at the right time". Its not just about individual players, but about the current squad, the players mentallity and their character. How does he measure that (?) - "there`s ways of doing it". Take note! "We have a really good squad and a really good group of players.....". "We`re not desperate [to get players in or out]. We`re not going to make rash decisions". That ties in with his comments pre-sunderland, that hes not going to bring in players to plug a gap or because they are "available".

"You need players that bring a balance to the team. You cant ever have everyone the same. You need a good mix and a good blend. Everyone has to bring something a little bit different. They all have to be here for the right reasons and push in the right direction".

Are the boys up for it? The same journalist who every week asks and answers his own questions, asked Carrick if they wanted to preform against Watford "even more" because of last weeks defeat. His response was polite, but unambiguous:

"I wouldnt say `even more`, because if it is `even more`, it means we aint motivated enough to start with"(!).

He certainly creates the impression, [unlike some previous Managers], that an emotional response to results and perfomances is not something he encourages. He expects players and his staff to manage the highs and lows, but also to aim for the same high standards, week in and week out....and "Ups and downs are part of football......we take the bumps when they come". He repeated that motivation, belief and confidence are important. He expects everyone to learn how to manage games and improve together to achieve positive results. "The boys are in a good frame of mind". They have been training well over the week. Its "going to be a challenge", but "its just the next game - whoever we`re playing".

Cameron Archer?

"Hes been terrific. He`s trainerd really well and getting sharper. Hes getting to know the boys and they`re getting to know him".
Importantly he commented that its the "team" which comes above the individual. Was Archer going to play alongside Chuba? Carrick was unequivocal - he will pick the team he thinks deserve to be picked to perform on the day. No one has a place which is "nailed down" or first on the team-sheet. He did comment that there will be plenty of football ahead for Cameron and stressed:-
"Tactics are one thing, but when you`re on the pitch, understanding little partnerships and [working as] units and in [different] combinations.......being on the wavelength[with other players] takes a little bit longer. A time to work each other out...".

Zak Steffen?
An unfortunate reporter made the comment that Zak had come "under srutiny" and was met with an instant reply:
"Not from me!
I dont know why (!?)".
Carrick wants the team to play through the pitch and be fluid in its approach.
"Zak is a big part of that. He starts our attacks off....".
"I`ve got no problem with Zak."


Would he be issuing a plea to Boro fans to get behind the team? Carrick smiled and said "its not a plea....thats football". He made a point on complimenting the hardy souls last week, stuffed up in the rafters. He also made a point in ensuring the team acknowledge the travelling fans. He wants to give us something to cheer about and be happy Boro are doing well. Here! Here! to that.

Time to go again.

Come on.

Up The Mighty Boro! ✊
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Our record against Watford is poor, but history is junk. We only have to look at how good our record was against the Mackems up until last Sunday.
Earlier on in the season, we could and should have beaten Watford. We played well enough. But that is history, as is Chris Wilder - who was Manager at the time. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Apart from Cameron Archer, virtually the same squad has turned around from relegation certainties to play-off hopefuls. Carrick points out that we mustnt get carried away - wether its a consistent run of wins or a hurting defeat. We have to learn to expect that. Watford have quality players - especially up front, but they arent invincible.

Boro v Watford Record:


Boro v Watford League Trend:


Championship Table - what matters to Boro:


Championship - Current Form:

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Last Time Out:
Tuesday 30th August.

Watford 2 Boro 1
Muniz [4] 0-1
Sarr [24] 1-1
Bayo [90+3] 2-1

Vakoun Bayo scored a stoppage-time winner for Watford as they beat Middlesbrough 2-1 on a historic night at Vicarage Road.
Rodrigo Muniz opened the scoring for Boro with his first goal for the club after only four minutes, heading in from a Ryan Giles cross.
Ismaila Sarr levelled for the hosts 20 minutes later, pairing up with Joao Pedro to break through the Middlesbrough defence in an entertaining first half.
But Bayo kept his composure deep in injury time to tap in the winner on the night Watford celebrated a centenary of football at Vicarage Road.

Source: [Edit] https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/62641671

Boro Team:


What Chris Wilder Said at The Time:

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder told BBC Radio Tees:

"We didn't deserve that. Not at all. I thought we were excellent second half, especially as we had to survive and we had to suffer a little bit first half, we withstood that with the players that they've got."

*Full report: follow link above.

Its astonishing how much of a difference Michael Carrick and his staff have made to what is essentially the same squad. If memory serves me right - it was only 4 games later, after the disaster at Coventry, that Wilder was sacked, leaving Leo and the coaching staff to pick up the pieces. We had slipped to 21st by the time Carrick arrived and that included a 4-1 away win at Wigan. We looked like we were only going in one direction at the time. But...........
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Slaven Bilic:


Watford boss Slaven Bilić is under no illusions about the challenges associated with Saturday’s trip to promotion rivals Middlesbrough (January 28, 3pm KO), but with ever-increasing options and three strong-willed league displays so far in 2023, he is confident the team can stretch their unbeaten run to four on Teesside.

Victory on the road at Norwich at the turn of the New Year preceded a 2-0 triumph over Blackpool and a 1-1 draw against Rotherham back at home, and the Hornets could complete January without defeat in the Sky Bet Championship with a positive result at the Riverside Stadium.

Boro’s fortunes have turned since Watford’s last-gasp 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture at the end of August - on the 100th anniversary of the club’s move to Vicarage Road - with the arrival of Head Coach Michael Carrick kickstarting an impressive run that has lifted them into the play-off places.


Indeed, eight wins in Carrick’s first 12 games in charge preceded a 2-0 defeat away at North-East rivals Sunderland last time out, and Bilić is expecting a tough game against a side looking to bounce back to winning ways at the first time of asking.

“They’re a very good team,” said Bilić, 54. “Since Carrick has come in they’ve shown how good they are and the quality they possess, and we go there now with them just two points behind us in the table.

“The last game was a derby game, and they got a red card so I think it was probably just a one-off. They’ll be looking to get back on track, and with Carrick in charge - and all the experience and know-how he’s got - it’s going to be hard.

“But I think we’re in a good moment ourselves. We’ve shown over the last few weeks that without loads of players, and our full quality, that we can play good games and get points, and I’m hopeful that will be the case again this weekend.”


As the first-team’s absentee list continues to shrink slowly - with Keinan Davis set to be involved for the first time since limping off at Carrow Road - the addition of new players to the squad in the January transfer window has also provided more options to Bilić.

Latest arrival Henrique Araújo is eligible for selection against Middlesbrough following his loan move from Benfica, and Bilić has so-far been impressed by what he’s seen of the Portuguese 21-year-old at the London Colney training ground.

Bilić said: “He’s looked very sharp so far, and he’s put a smile on my face. He’s only had a handful of sessions, and we know it’s early days, but he’s very mature for his age and I’ve been impressed.


“The challenge for him is being able to jump into the Championship and kick on straight away. He seems to have slotted in well, and there are a lot of elements that make me hopeful he will do well.”

While Araújo joined Ismaël Koné, João Ferreira and Matheus Martins by coming into the fold this month, William Troost-Ekong left for Salernitana this week, and Bilić hailed the Nigerian defender for his service to the Hornets during his time in charge.

He added: “Ekong is a good leader, he was really important in the dressing room and he was at the club for a long time. At the end he didn’t play every game, but he was involved most of the time, and I wish him all the best.

“We still have a few days before the end of the transfer window, and we’ll see if some more business will happen.”

Watford - Players to Watch:

Joao Pedro - Top scorer [9] + 2 Assists

Ismaila Sarr [7] + 5 Assists

Vakoun Bayo [4] + 1 Assist

Keinan Davis [4]

A total of 12 players have scored for Watford this season, so its fair to say they can score from all over the pitch.
Carrick already pointed out - their forward line is dangerous, not just from goals scored but from assists.
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Boro have won 15 points from losing positions this season: only Burnley have rescued more.

MFC will once again be marking Holocaust Memorial Day.​

Friday 27 January is when we remember the Holocaust, the murder of 6 million Jewish men, women, and children during the Second World War.

Between 1939 and 1945, Jews across Europe were forced into ghettos, separated from the rest of their towns and villages, starved, beaten, and deported to concentration and death camps where they were murdered. Other communities were killed in forests and other locations, close to where they had lived for centuries. The Nazis attempted to kill every Jew, wherever they could be found.

Britain and its allies fought the Nazis and in the final months of the war many soldiers witnessed horrific scenes as they liberated the camps. These memories stayed with them for the rest of their lives, and many veterans were never able to speak about what they saw.

MFC Under-12s, winners of the Premier League's annual Christmas Truce tournament, will be lighting a candle at Rockliffe and reciting a poem from Flanders Field to remember the Holocaust

After the war, several survivors having lost parents and siblings, and having experienced unimaginable horrors, eventually came to Britain and rebuilt their lives. These people, who are now in their 80s and 90s, have made amazing contributions to British society, becoming teachers, dentists, architects, businessmen and even Olympic champions.

The crimes of the Nazis shook the world, and are remembered every year on Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January, the day that the notorious concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated. On Holocaust Memorial Day, we remember the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. We also remember other victims of Nazi persecution, including the Roma and Sinti community, homosexuals, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political opponents. We remember the atrocities of the past, and pledge to ensure that mankind does not repeat the same mistakes again.

The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Ordinary People.’ This theme invites us to consider the millions of ordinary people affected by the events of the Holocaust and the hundreds of communities which were destroyed or changed forever. We can also stop and reflect about the many ordinary people who risked their lives to save or hide the Jews of Europe. Or, we might want to think about the ordinary people who perpetrated these events in a bid to understand where hatred and antisemitism can ultimately lead.

Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich is visiting the club later this month to speak to members of staff. Mala has agreed to share her life story from life as a young girl in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland, her time in Bergen-Belsen to her current life in the UK with her husband Maurice and their family.

Barry Dawson, the club's head of education and welfare, said: "Hate crimes are on the rise and there are so many untruths on the internet about the Holocaust we feel it’s so important our young people and children hear first-hand the truth about the what went on."

Last year, the Academy decorated pebbles, pictured, as part of remembering Holocaust Memorial day.

Need to end this barren spell today. Rapidly have turned into one of our bogey teams.

Incidentally Roofie, a picture of you popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday. Just was titled The Swans best dressed... Some pub perhaps?
I know I will get shouted down on here by some but I am saying a must win today, the five teams below us although they do not play could leapfrog us if we fail to win and they win their game in hand and in fact Luton and Millwall would have 2 games in hand, to keep on track and for that psychological edge, a must win.
It is definitely not a must win game. In fact I’d be happy with a draw. A win would be great of course but a draw is not the end of our season. By no stretch of the imagination.
I am saying must win if we really want to build a gap like the top 2 have, don’t you want to be that 3rd place team who are mathematically in the play off’s with a couple of games left?
We have to keep in touch otherwise we are playing catch - up. There`s no doubt Michael Carrick wont be as concerned - his calmness and pragmatism means he will look at the bigger picture.

Keep Calm and Carrick On