Nottingham Forest are the next visitors to the sadly empty Riverside tomorrow. Can Boro keep the performances and results flowing and adding up the points on the board? We haven’t lost since the season opener v Watford and would be wonderful to finish October with another win. A treat for Boro and a halloween horror for the Tricky Trees.
Big spending Forest have revived under experienced old hand Chris Hughton. A good safe pair of hands, with a record akin to Neil Warnock at this level, Hughton he has already steadied the rocking ship by turning losses into draws. But we don’t want him getting any ideas of moving on up with the draws into a win. Boro aim to build on their 2-0 victory over Coventry and finishing the month with a flourish.
I asked Neil Warnock a couple of questions at this morning’s ZOOM press conference to test the waters about the atmosphere in the camp and gain any glimmers of his current approach.
Fly: I wanted to ask you about the togetherness in the team, we saw the huddle after Bristol City with the players and staff and then the players huddle before Coventry. Looking at the last game and
Tavernier’s last ditch tackle – it seems they are really playing for each other.
NW: I think epitomises really. I mean Tav getting back in there and not being favourite for that one really. Everybody talks about the goals but I think Tav’s tackle really won us the game the other night. And that is what we want, we want everybody to muck in really and it shows you he can do that. Tav has created at one end and he is helping out at the other.
I don’t think it is just Tav. In today’s game, I watched Harry Cane last week scoring goals and then clearing one off the line at the other end. You’ve got to do it. That’s what team players are for. That’s why he is the captain and that’s why Tav is in the team at the minute because you know what you are getting.
Fly: A lot of fans have been talking about the partnership between Howson and Morsy in midfield, giving us that platform and then driving us forward. Have you been very pleased with the way they have combined?
NW: I have yes and I think it has given Saville a little bit more freedom to get in the box, which I think he can do. I think Sam is a little bit underrated. When you look at Jonny Howson you think wow, what a player, passer and all this, that and the other. With Sam he goes under the radar a little bit. Same for me, I didn’t realise it was Sam’s ball for the goal, a wonderful ball for Assombalonga’s goal. I just thought it was Jonny Howson because that is the kind of thing I expect. I think that just shows you really how because he is underrated he just goes under the radar. But he is manager’s dream really, he is going to get 8 out of 10 every week.
Fly: We have such a small squad and we are playing lots of games in close proximity but also with the very limited close season is this going to mean lots of managers being very careful in managing players and their time on the pitch as you are doing with Patrick Roberts?
NW: I think we are going to have to, yes. I am going to have to use my experience. When I look at the training to see if who is a little bit fatigued, who needs a rest, who doesn’t need to do as much one particular day in training. They will never say never, they will never say can I come off, gaffer. It has got to me that tells them because they want to do everything, every day. I have to be looking around at who I think can do with a rest even it is pulling somebody off to have a chat with them because really I have pulled them off because I don’t want them to train any more. It is that type of management, I think in the next few months anyway.
Fly: When we had Steve McClaren here and we were playing in Europe he talked about the importance of rest days. You talk about the importance of rest as well as training. If a player has a hard game on a Saturday you have talked about him resting on a Monday..
NW: Well, unfortunately the games are thick and fast now and we might well work on tactics on a Monday so we can’t do that. But I think rest is important. I don’t think any manager gives the players more days off and time off than me. I am a big believer in that. Like you say I think it is just as important as training at times. I don’t think we have ever had a period in a season like this before, in my time, anyhow. I don’t think any of us know or realise yet what is going to happen in the next few months because the number of games there has got to be a large influx of injuries I think. I am just crossing my fingers that we don’t sustain them.
OK here’s hoping we can finish October with another win and give Forest a horrific Halloween horror show.
Come On Boro and Up The Boro