Fuller Flavour: If we set out to attack ‘Boro, the result could have been different

10 December, 2017 - 15:00
Adam Webster wins a challenge with Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford. But were Town too defensive at the Riverside? Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Adam Webster wins a challenge with Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford. But were Town too defensive at the Riverside? Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

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No dramas as such with Town’s defeat at Middlesbrough, but there’s a degree of frustration that we have seen a couple of times in three weeks now, writes Karl Fuller.

What I am referring to is how we’ve gone to ‘Boro to take on a side who were in the Premier League last season, and played them at a time when they’re supposedly fragile, just like we did at Hull recently.

But whilst we came away from the KCOM stadium with a point yielded from a display with more attacking intent, our attempt to contain Middlesbrough rather than go with our strength of attack, ultimately saw us succumb to defeat.

In truth, I was not really expecting anything more but when you read about a side whose fans are not happy with how things are at present and the appraisal of how things are at the Riverside by former Town striker Alum Armstrong, one felt that it was a good time to go there and add to their woes.

- NORTH STANDER: Why does Mick set out to defend when we’re so good at attacking?

In the end, we had the one solitary shot on target and when you throw in our usual defensive frailties, it’s not a good recipe for success.

The frustration therefore is created in that we’ve been scoring goals aplenty for most of the season and had we gone with more attacking intent, then who knows what the final outcome would have been. I guess Mick will say possibly a heavier defeat than by two goals!

But look, I said last week that we’re heading in the right direction. Six points out of Derby away, Forest at home and Middlesbrough away is not a bad return at all.

We don’t usually get anything these days at Middlesbrough, so let’s move on and get back on track with a win at home to Reading on Saturday.

The football is better than last season and to still be in the top 10 at this stage of the season is more than what I imagined back in August.

Unfortunately, despite my notion of us heading in the right direction, there will absolutely be some limitations, we’ll hit buffers along the way that are those clubs who spend big, but we could do a bit more for ourselves by cutting out so many defensive errors.

- REACTION: Mick on defeat at Boro

That said, the amount of goals we leak every season never seems to get addressed. Maybe if there was one wish with the impending transfer window on the horizon, it would be for a couple of defensive additions. Right-back is definitely a position that we have not sorted out properly for years now.

Prior to that aforementioned game at Hull, I talked of eight really difficult games leading up to Christmas.

I said that in isolation almost every one of these games would see us settling for draws before each game but then eight points out of a possible 24 would not be a very satisfactory return. I had hoped for 12 as being a decent haul of points.

After six of those eight games, we’ve gained eight points. Beat Reading and draw at Wolves and I’ve got the twelve points that I would have been happy with. It’s quite simple really isn’t it?

I think those two result are well within our capabilities – providing we stop giving away silly goals and then we’re set up for the festive period.

- STUART SAYS: Talking points from Town’s defeat at Middlesbrough

I don’t see a top-six finish personally come next May mainly because of those bigger clubs ahead of us who have spent money. But anything around tenth place would be a marked improvement.

Finally, as I always say with these away games providing such a long trek with Christmas just around the corner, a massive well done to the 434 of you that made the trip on Saturday.

It really is fans such as yourselves that deserve so much more. You are a real credit to our club.

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