Imagine a cross between 2004/5 and 2005/6. You’ve just imagined 2011/2, a new will-we, won’t-we playoff battle not devised and but very much influenced by
Well then. We’re still pushing aren’t we? Tuesday’s 1-0 victory against Carlisle United – the sixth of the season if you’re counting – has ensured that Boro’ remain on the tails of Notts County in sixth position. To quote an unnamed League One manager, the pressure has been upped.
Two wins on the bounce have given fresh impetus in Boro’s bid to gatecrash the promotion party and there is no room for relaxation just yet. The next visitors to the Lamex are one of those other teams looking to hunt down the top six – Brentford – and it is not going to be a straightforward affair.
We’ll get onto the stats that matter in just a bit.
One of the most encouraging elements of the last two games for Smiffy has been the trio of loanees, Patrick Agyemang, Jordan Slew and Jamaal Lascelles, showing signs that they’ve now firmly got to grips with their new surroundings. Aligned with the return of Moose and Beardo from injury, and you’d say – somewhat apprehensively of course – that it is falling into place at the right time.
It is a rather embarrassing cliche but we all accept that Boro’ face three cup finals before as we draw towards the end of the season. Nine points obviously gives us the best chance of a playoff berth, but we could sit around and play numberwang with point predictions all day long. We just need results – Brentford is one of three obstacles to knock down. And we’ve got the players who can run through walls.
So what do we reckon. Well. We’ve met Brentford twice before – once this season and once last season in the Paintpot Trophy. Both finished 1-0 to the away team – there’s a small egg of history that needs cracking for a start. If you’re a betting man or woman – person would have covered it – don’t go splurging your money on a thrashing either way. It probably will not happen.
And here’s a little gem from the Opta team courtesy of Oddschecker – Stevenage have won 16 of the 19 games (and lost none) in which they’ve taken the lead in this season. Compare that with Brentford, who are the only side in the division who haven’t won after conceding first. You’d therefore think that Boro’ scoring first is a crucial thing tomorrow – looks like you’d be right!
Stevenage edge it with the bookmakers at the moment, but not by much. The best price on a Stevenage victory is currently 13/10 at Bet Victor; the draw at 12/5 with Boylesports. The prices are correct at time of quoting, OK? But if you’re fancying a punt with a little more to give, how about 1-0 Stevenage at sevens with Ladbrokes? Alternatively, the 1-1 draw is 11/2 at Skybet. Decisions, decisions.
Team tarot. Changes? Trust, encouragement, reward, loyalty… satisfaction. That’s what I’m… you know: