THE GLOVES ARE OFF: My delight at award recognition

The Gloves Are Off, with Blues keeper Shane Bland
The Gloves Are Off, with Blues keeper Shane Bland

I was delighted to have come in as runner-up for Top Male Achiever in Monday’s Scarborough & District Sports Awards.

It was a shame to have not won the award, but I am pleased with the achievement, especially considering I knew nothing about it until the day.

Seeing the club nominated for top senior playing team and Chris Hardy nominated for coach of the year was great. It shows how far we’ve all come at the club.

The sacking of Claudio Ranieri was a bit of a stupid move from Leicester City, especially the timing of it. I think he’s an excellent manager.

Look at what he’s done. Who’d have thought Leicester would be playing in the last 16 of the Champions League?

Sevilla are a good side and the La Liga table doesn’t lie, they’re up there. The fact that Leicester have gone there and only lost 2-1 is a good effort.

The relegation fight in the Premier League is really tightening up.

I think Sunderland are down. I’m not just saying that because I’m a Middlesbrough fan, but I don’t think that they can rely on Jermain Defoe all season.

Boro are also heading towards trouble.

I’m not particularly a fan of Aitor Karanka and his tactics, particularly at home.

If you don’t score, you’re not going to win games. One up front at home isn’t going to get goals and at Premier League level, teams will punish you.

Karanka has tried to take his side and tactics from the Championship into the Premier League and it doesn’t really work.

If you look at sides like Burnley and Bournemouth, they’ve adapted and like to get at teams. Burnley, in particular, are having a good season too.

Playing one up front, especially at home, isn’t going to work like it did in the Championship and it could be Boro’s undoing.

The side was disappointed with the result on Saturday and we all know that we need to put it right at Mickleover this weekend.

Yet again we were made to rue missed opportunities and we need to sort that side of our game.

We struggled with the wind in our face during the second half, and their strikers had a field day, particularly Luke Benbow, who was a handful. A few of the lads agreed with me on that.

Saturday is going to be tough. We held them at 0-0 at their place last season, until they got a last minute goal, so we know that they’re strong at home.

We haven’t been brilliant away from home, so we need to be at it from the outset to get ourselves back on track.

Thanks for reading,

Shane Bland