Saturday, 15 September 2012

Middlesbrough Away Match Preview

The Riverside is a totally new experience for me and I'm looking forward to adding that to my list of visited grounds.

But I hate to admit that's the only part of today I expect to be exciting. It just feels to me like we are in limbo, and that's a feeling I am getting all too familiar is.

I've spent the international break trying to right a blog to explain how I feel about our dealings in the transfer window, or lack of them.

To summarise, it basically says:

I'm getting tired of hearing 'we need a centre back'. We know that, Jewell knows that. Stop stating the bleeding obvious.

For whatever reason, it hasn't happened for us and I've considered the possibility it may be down to Evans, Jewell, Clegg, the club itself or even just there's none out there. I just wish the club could be more open about it.

But the fact is we don't have one, we must do the best with what we've got and I honestly believe the first team we have now are better than this time last year.

So I say it every week and Ipswich fans always make me proud with the support they give on match days, but let's leave the worries behind and see what we can get out of today. The last trip to Middlesbrough was far more successful than we expected, could it be the same today?

On the other side of the fence, it seems Boro fans are similarly dubious about the start of their season. The big difference for them is that they have had a few reasonable new players sign up. Including, of course, the man Town fans inexplicably loved to hate: Grant Leadbitter.

I spoke to Chris Powlay, Boro fan and great tweeter to follow.

1. How has the start of the season been for you? 

Not so much happy, rather disappointed away from home with losses to Barnsley and Millwall. At home no complaints, some superb football vs. Crystal Palace and a well fought victory over Burnley.

2. What was the transfer activity like for you?
I personally thought the transfer activity was very good, Jonathan Woodgate returning was a huge signing. The guy is head and shoulders above anything else in this division. The club did a lot of work very early in the window for once and brought in a lot of players for no, or little transfer fees.

3. How has former ITFC midfielder Grant Leadbitter been getting on for you? What was your view on him before he came and has that changed?
He has settled quickly, he adds some bite to the team that went missing when Barry Robson went on his Canada trip. I knew what to expect as i'd seen him play for Sunderand. A very committed player who will do ok at this level but may lack that little something for the premier league.

4. Our result against you at Riverside last year was one of our most unexpected of the season (even if it was only a draw), any memories from that for you?
Scotland smacking the post and Sonko being an idiot in the way he went about himself. It wasn't a match for the home team to want to remember, we were the second best side that day and were lucky to get a point.

5. What do you expect to see from ITFC on Saturday? Any players you expect to be impressed with?
I hope that Scott Loach doesnt have a game like he did for Watford against us last season. The guy was amazing, stopped everything that was thrown at him. I've seen some of players like Carlos Edwards, Daryl Murphy and Chopra from their time in the North East. Chopra on his day is as good a finisher as there is in this league. Hopefully he has an off day.

6. Is there anywhere you can recommend for the traveling ITFC fans (including me!) to go before the match? Any good places to eat and drink? Tips for parking!?
If people are driving in just for the game and not a pre match drink then stay on the A66 until you get to the ground, come off and aim for the ground and there is a roundabout just before the bridge in front of the Riverside, turn right there. There are cars parked all the way along that road and its a few minutes walk to the ground. In the ground definatly sample the Parmo in a bun. Its a local food and its worth the experience. Chicken with a bechemel sauce then breaded, in a bun. Pop a bit of Garlic Mayo on and wowzers. You will see why the people are so fat!
Otherwise go into the town centre and find a pay and display park probably near the cinema just off the A66. (make sure you dont park in a leisure bay as you will be ticketed!) There are plenty of pubs in the centre places like walkabout, Yates etc. Im not a pre match drinker so im not the best person to ask that question to!

7. Finally, can I have a score prediction and a Boro player for us to watch out for please?
Middlesbrough have not got the best record against ipswich but i feel our home form is crackling a little. Players are combining well. Adam Reach is a young youth player (and of course from my twitter @boroyouths you can tell i keep an eye on those!) who has been on fine form this season. He smashed a wonder goal in vs. Burnley and Speroni of Palace had to be alert when Reach let rip from 40 yards a few times vs. Palace. If he starts then expect a fine performance from a classy young player. If he doesnt start then...George Friend. A cheap summer import from relegated Doncaster. Has come in at left back and the sale of Joe Bennett doesnt look all too bad. Friend looked brilliant so far this season, accomplished going forward (won a penalty vs. Millwall) and not half bad in defence!
Prediction. Middlesbrough 2 Ipswich 1.

Will definitely be getting a Parmo I think! Enjoy the day all who are going.


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