Middlesbrough v Coventry City, Saturday 29th January 2022, 3pm

This game against Coventry was the third of the eleven that Harry and I get to see with our half-season tickets. The previous two matches had seen us take an in-form Forest team apart and then nick a win at the death against Reading.

Ever the optimist, Harry was confident that Coventry wouldn’t pose a problem, but mindful of the performance against Reading and the defeat away at Blackburn since then I wasn’t quite so sure.

It was a cold day again, with the wind making it even chillier. I was well wrapped up but the grandson was kitted out in a hoodie and one of his Dad’s old Boro shirts. I gave him my gloves when he started to shiver.

The game played out more in line with my expectations than Harry’s with Coventry looking the better side for much of the first half. Wilder made a couple of changes early in the second half and they paid off almost straight away with Balogun crossing for Sporar to tuck away the only goal of the game.

I was impressed again with the way that Wilder made a difference. He only seems to make substitutions to address a specific issue and so far they have paid off more often than not. Even better was him explaining his reasoning for the changes in post-game interviews in an intelligent and informative manner. It’s a long way from the guarded folksy platitudes of Warnock and light years away from the pig-ignorant nonsense that was dished up in the Strachan era. It’s a good time to be following the Boro.

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