It’s here. Match day. 1st match day of the season. Where all of the uncertainty of the transfer window is set aside and the focus is solely on the team.
The league can’t be won on the first day but you can certainly can make a statement. Millwall is a hostile away day but it has been a happy hunting ground for us in recent times, winning 4 and drawing 2 of the last 8 meetings there.
Tony Pulis has also beaten Millwall 4 times and drawn 4 times in his last 8 meetings. The omens are good if you’re in to that sort of thing.
Today is about new beginnings. We will get a chance to see how we will manage without arguably our two best players in Traore and Gibson. Traore is injured for the foreseeable future with Wolves seemingly unperturbed by the situation. Gibson is subject of a £15 million bid from Europa League new boys Burnley.
These developments could see Aden Flint come in to the centre of defence and Harry Chapman step in to the right wing berth after a fairly impressive pre-season.
Lewis Wing is also chomping at the bit for a starting place. In times of relative adversity, new names can stand up and be counted. Youth could step forward and become men.
Millwall went on an astonishing run at the back end of the season which saw them almost secure a play off place but just ran out of steam toward the end, including a defeat to us at the Riverside. That defeat still relatively fresh could work in our favour.
No matter what mood surrounds the club when it comes to the start of the season, the fervour for the 1st match day is always intense.
Coming off the back of a wonderful World Cup, the lack of domestic competitive football has had Boro fans and fans across the Football League looking to Reading vs Derby last night and to the first Saturday of the season to get their fix.
And last night provided a thrilling finish to the opening game of the Championship season. Many fans across the league are harboring hopes of just reaching the playoffs, automatic promotion, fighting off relegation.
Some resigned to mid table mediocrity or a season of underachieving. Some thinking they can punch above their weight and cause a shock. But that first game of the season can be a catalyst for something special or indication of how much you could struggle.
Get off to flyer and get to Christmas in a good position and look to push on, or inconsistency and poor form can see you hovering above the bottom or loitering around mid table. It’s all guess work and conjecture.
Hopefully we can put the uncertainty aside for today, go out there, put our best foot forward and come back with the 3 points and look to start our home campaign in the right way against Sheff United.
Safe journey to the travelling army as well. Sing your hearts out for the lads. Up the Boro!