Middlesbrough v Derby County
22nd March 2008
Kick off – 3pm
The Rams head North east on Saturday for a clash with Gareth Southgate`s Middlesbrough, and too say a victory is needed for Paul Jewell`s side is an under statement.
It looks like the Rams will make a quick return to the Championship but it`s the unwanted lowest points record they are trying to avoid.
The Rams are still five points short of Sunderland’s Premier League record low of 15 points, and assistant Coach Stan Ternent spoke to the press regarding this. He said: ‘It’s nice to be remembered in football, but for all the right reasons.
‘So our ambition is to get past the 15-point mark, otherwise our name will be up in lights forever.
‘That’s our incentive. We don’t want to be remembered as the team with the least number of Premier League points.’
Boro sit in 13th spot on 31 points, only six of the relegation zone and it could be the chance for the Rams to capitalise and gain three points and secure Jewell`s long awaited first three points as Rams boss. Jewell thinks that could play in his team’s favour.
He said: “The atmosphere at Middlesbrough will be a bit flat but it’s up to us to pick ourselves up.
‘They are safe so I guess their fans will be thinking ‘shall I go there or shall I go to B&Q?”
A repeat of last week`s performance against Manchester United at Pride Park is what the fans will look for and Jewell.
He said: “‘If we can show the same endeavour, the same work rate and the same quality, I’m sure we’ll get something out of the game,’ he told BBC Radio Derby.
‘We probably made more chances against Man U than we did against many teams.’
Middlesbrough will be hoping to complete their second Premier League double over Derby. The first was achieved when they were last in the division together in 2001-2002, the visit to the Riverside that season ended in a 5-1 defeat for the then Jim Smiths` Rams side.
The Rams have not beaten the Teessider`s since a 1-4 victory at the Riverside on 15 January 2000, when Malcolm Christie (two), Deon Burton and Craig Burley scored.
One player the Rams will need to watch on Saturday is George Boateng, and Boro boss Southgate praised the midfielder on the eve of the clash.
He said: “‘George has probably played nearly as many games as anybody in the midfield this year.
‘It is just that at certain times, he has not been in the side and that unsettled him around Christmas time.
‘But his response has been fantastic throughout. We have always known what George is capable of and I have always said he has got a big part to play.’
In Rams team news keeper Roy Carroll is fit after suffering a slight groin problem last Saturday. Defender Alan Stubbs, is back in light training but will miss with a calf injury, and midfielder Stephen Pearson (hernia) is unlikely to figure.
Middlesbrough have been hit by suspensions, with striker Mido beginning a three-match ban while midfielder Fabio Rochemback is banned for two games.
Defenders Robert Huth (foot) and Emanuel Pogatetz (calf) are doubtful, but Andrew Taylor is in contention.
Middlesbrough (from): Schwarzer, Turnbull, Young, Wheater, Pogatetz, Huth, Taylor, Grounds, O’Neil, Boateng, Shawky, Downing, Johnson, Cattermole, Tuncay, Alves, Aliadiere.
Derby County (from): Carroll, Edworthy, McEveley, Leacock, Jones, Villa, Earnshaw, Miller, Lewis, Todd, Sterjovski, Moore, Robert, Savage, Ghaly, Beardsley, Price.
Referee – Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Rams v Boro – Preview
Middlesbrough v Derby County