Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Punter's Panel

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Punter's Panel

Article excerpt

Defeat against Southampton means it's just seven points from 30 for Steve McClaren's side and a slide to ninth in the table.

With Boro now out of Europe, Barry King asks the Evening Gazette Punters' Panel where it has all gone wrong and if the return of McClaren's injured stars will really make a difference to the season.

JOHN BROOKES, from Stockton, is not convinced the return of Mark Viduka and Co. will make a difference.

He said: "The injured players coming back will need a bedding in period so I don't think they will make that much difference.

"Viduka will need time to reform his partnership with Hasselbaink, but Boateng back in midfield might make the only difference for us just because he gets stuck in.

"McClaren must be ruing not bringing anybody in January and I think it's all started going wrong from there and McClaren's wrong formations and misuse of personnel.

"It's wrong to give the players a week off, they should be back in there working because if we don't get back into Europe we have failed.

"They have to instill a confidence and belief back into the players, but I don't think we have a chance of finishing in the top six. At the moment I'd just be happy with top ten."

BARI CHOHAN, from Acklam, thinks McClaren's tactics are to blame for the current slump.

"I think the injuries to players is just a poor excuse especially when they had the chance to buy or rent in January," said Bari.

"Injuries are a fact of life and I think our current state is down to the negative nature of how McClaren attempts to play the game. When we have played attacking football we've been very good, so you have to question is it the players or the tactics?

"I don't think the injured players coming back will make that much difference, they are going to need time to get match fit so you're better off giving a run to the players you have available.

"The negative tactics have resulted in negative attendances and atmosphere at matches and it's not acceptable. …

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