Die HardIt’s Christmas, Theo. It’s the time of miracles. So be of good cheer. And call me when you hit the last lock.” Die Hard – quite possibly the greatest Christmas movie ever. Now, that is not up for debate but what could get us bickering over the turkey this festive period is what constitutes a good Christmas for Boro’. Sheffield United is the first of four fixtures that will be taking us into the New Year. How many out of 12?

It seems to us that we don’t need miracles to make it a good Christmas. The highest placed team we face (at the time of writing) is Gillingham, who are 17th. Colchester are 18th, with Sheffield United 19th and Bristol City rock bottom. Now, are you telling us we can’t win all four of those? Suitably wrapped, racking up all 12 points has the potential to transform our season. We just need the consistency to deliver them.

Some delightful facts to get you in the mood for this weekend: We can’t go into Christmas bottom of the table, if we lose to the Blades. Two of the three below us – Notts County and Bristol City – play each other. We have a 100% record against the Blades at home and they have the worst League One record for point scoring on the road this season (5). But we do have a problem – we have the worst home record (7pts).

We have no Michael Doughty or Roarasaurus due to suspension, while the injured lads all seem to be in some form of contention for the game. Except Big D. Bring back Hartley and stick Morais out wide, with Greg Tansey in the middle alongside the returning Heslop. It’s a winner in our eyes, but we’ve been through this whole “this is why we’re not a manager” thing before. Yippee ki-yay lads and ladies…

[expand title=”REFEREE WATCH”]
David Phillips is this weekend’s referee and the man with whom we’ve shared some weird and wonderful times. From the time our Conference playoff chase imploded at home with defeat to Northwich in 2008, to our first ever League game against Macclesfield and when he sent off Ben May… there’s plenty of stories to tell. Last time we met, we went down 2-0 at home to MK Dons. A mixed bag as you can see.

This season, he’s been a busy fella. He’s had a veritable smorgasbord of games across three divisions and doled out 42 cards; only once has he failed to produce a card and it seems he always likes to hand out bookings in even numbers. In addition, four men have been given an early bath by Mr Phillips – including two in the League Two game between Newport and Mansfield earlier this season. None for us, ta…

This season for David Phillips:
Games: 12 — Yellow: 42 (3.5pg), Red: 4

Our record under David Phillips:
P6 W2 D1 L3 F11 A13 — Yellow: 5, Red: 1[/expand]


[expand title=”FIFA14 VERDICT”]
Boro’ Line-Up:
Day; Smith, Chorley, Jones, Hartley; Morais, Doughty, Heslop, Freeman; Burrow, Zoko

It’s quite impressive how FIFA14 managed to recreate the tension of a bottom-of-the-table scrap, with this one ending up being a rather cagey affair. And you definitely can’t question how good we actually are at this game. The game wasn’t a memorable one – in fact, it was a dirge of a football match and, had the game not exploded into life in the final 15 minutes, it would have been time wasted on the PS3.

But we said the game exploded into life and that’s what it did. Sheffield United went ahead on 78′ through Jose Baxter. With Boro’ staring down the barrel, Simon Heslop retrieved an overhit cross from Luke Freeman and pinged the ball back in for Francois Zoko to equalise from 10 yards with a neat volley on 86′. And in stoppage time, Zoko stole the ball on the 18 yard box and smashed home to steal the win.

Now, as you can see, we borked the first replay video. So rather than Zoko’s nice volley, the treat you get is the sight of Chris Day moving around. Enjoy that, won’t you…




[expand title=”BOOKIE BASHING”]
With a risk free £10 wager with Titan Bet, you can double your money on a Stevenage win; we’re priced at 2/1 and our visitors are in the running at 27/20. Now we’re not saying that we’re going to see a repeat of last season’s 4-0 (150/1), but 2-1 (10/1) doesn’t look too bad – especially given that Sheffield United are yet to win a point after going a goal behind thus far in 2013/4. Other bookmakers are available…