The Light At The End Of The Tunnel…

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Skyfall

… is an oncoming train. Luckily, it’s a First Capital Connect service so it’s delayed, borked and therefore still gives us time to find another escape route. But, it’ll get to us eventually and our time will run out if we don’t do something. Port Vale are next at the Lamex and it seems to us that we’re very much in last chance territory. If we can’t win this one, it might be very hard to see how we’re going to escape the situation we find ourselves in.

You can accuse us of being glass-half-empty if you wish, but nothing has changed since the last time we talked about it. If we’re talking points targets, it’s still 50. If we’re talking the number of points we still need, it’s still 13. But now we have just eight games to find them in. That’s 24 points up for grabs. And then you realise we still have Wolves and Brentford to play – the top two. It’s hard not to write off those six points.

It’s right to point out that we can still overtake three teams with a game in hand that still exists in our favour. But yet again this weekend there are a couple of six pointers down in our part of the table that complicates things. Notts County must be favoured to get a win against Colchester United, while Tranmere Rovers play Carlisle United at Prenton Park – and both home teams are among those we need to be overhauling.

In our favour at the moment is our record against Vale (as a league club). We’re yet to lose to them and have scored five goals on the road against them. And away from their place, Vale currently have the worst form in the division with two draws from the past six games. If you hadn’t guessed by now, the other four were defeats. When it comes to teams in the lower half, however, their overall form on the road is bang on mid-table.

You don’t need us to spell out how important this game could be to our season – and probably is already. GW tells us there’s “no great panic“, but unfortunately we only got the last two-thirds of that message. If we don’t win this, BoroGuide will spend Sunday hugging our legs and rocking in a corner of quiet solitude. Just like we’d do if we heard that Steve Castle and Ian King were starting this game in central midfield. And no-one wants to see that.

 

Here’s What You Need To Know:

[expand title=”WE’VE MET BEFORE…”]

14 Dec 2013ASky Bet League One2-2
25 Apr 2011Hnpower League Two1-0
22 Feb 2011Anpower League Two3-1
17 Nov 2009HFA Cup R10-1
07 Nov 2009AFA Cup R11-1

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[expand title=”REFEREE WATCH”]
It’s quite possible that our next referee is the only one on the circuit who has a name that rhymes with William Shakespeare. And if that’s Charles Breakspear only claim to fame, it’s not a particularly good one.

We don’t seem to have had the pleasure of his company before, so it’s a new experience to savour this weekend. Just don’t get your hopes up that it’ll be a friendly one. He’s has just over 20 games to his name this campaign and he’s reached for his cards plenty of times. A stonking average of nearly 4.2 bookings per game is nothing compared to the EIGHT red cards he’s doled out already. That’s one every 2.6 games, if you were wondering. #battles

• This season for Charles Breakspear:
Games: 21 — Yellow: 88 (4.19pg), Red: 8

• Our record under Charles Breakspear:
Nothing found!
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[expand title=”BOOKIE BASHING”]
Want a risk-free £10 wager? Sign up with Titan Bet today and it’s yours.

With the bookies, we’re edging this one, with 21/20 on the home victory, compared to an away win at 51/20. The last six matches on the road have seen Port Vale fail to score four times, and Boro’ are 13/5 to win to nil. But the most common score for Vale when they’re away from home is a 3-2 defeat (16%, 22/1). But, 22% of Boro’ home games have ended in a 1-0 defeat – and that’s priced with Titan Bet at 11/1.

If you’re sizing up the Over/Under market, you could just flip a coin to decide. But we can help you with the revelation that a huge 63% of Port Vale away results have seen Over 2.5 Goals (3/4), compared with 44% of Boro’ home games. Of course, we mustn’t overlook an irritating habit of playing well first half and poorly in the second half. A home win on half time becoming a draw at full time is an enticing 12/1.

If you’d rather, check out what the alternatives are offering…

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