Small squad tested to the limits.

Here in the North East it was interesting to notice that Middlesbrough Football Club declared a loss of £14 million, but we weren’t the only ones revealing a loss over the last 18 months. Local rivals Sunderland had a loss of £8 million.Of course the difference with us and Sunderland, is that they are in the Premiership and have crowds of 40,000 and had a decent FA Cup run up until last nights exit at the hands of Everton.On the subject of finance and crowds, Newcastle United are top when it comes to profit with over £30 million, on top of this they have crowds of nearly 50,000 and have a great chance of qualifying for Europe. Not bad considering owner Mike Ashley is portrayed as the anti-Christ.

Our crowds this season at The Riverside must be a cause for concern.Saturdays attendance against Bristol City was officially given as just over 15,000 by the club, it looked more like 12,500.This season if I am honest I expected the crowds to be greater. For me Mogga and the team have done a fantastic job, considering there has been very little financial backing.To be in and around the top 6 for the majority of the season is no mean feat.Of course I am aware that the home form has been disappointing. the football at times tedious, uneventful and boring, never the less this is still a young squad, made up of local lads, loan players and players with limited ability. To still be in with a chance with 7 games remaining is remarkable.If we were to do the impossible and return to the top flight, I’m sure the football clubs monetary problems would be over and Mogga should be knighted. If we don’t, I am afraid we could be out of the top flight for years to come.Going into next season Mogga will be lucky, if he is left with 12 senior players of any quality at his disposal.

We cannot keep relying on chairman Steve Gibson bankrolling the money, this man has kept us afloat for years and brought us major success. But like Teesside as a town he is feeling the strain under the financial climate.

Last night despite a good point down at Portman Road, our promotion hopes are now looking even slimmer, after captain and key central defender Matthew Bates was injured after 17 minutes.By all accounts he was having a scan today, if the news isn’t good, lets hope it is, it would leave us with a massive hole in central defence, with no backup. Don’t forget Seb Hines was also replaced at half time because of a head injury. This for me is the downside of gambling with a shadow squad, gamblers usually win at the beginning, but lose out in the end, this could be the case for us.

No doubt Mogga will be out to get Stephen (Mick)McManus, to return from Bristol City, providing there is no clause in his loan contract. The question is, what frame of mind will he be in, knowing that Mogga has never fancied him at Celtic or Middlesbrough?

Amazingly without a win in our last five games, we are still in a terrific position, just lets hope it doesn’t slip away.

I would like to wish Matthew Bates a speedy recovery, lets hope it is a short term injury, as he is out of contract in the summer.

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