Owen pre-match tattle
As skipper, Michael Owen has given his full pre-Boro press conference and raised a number of positive aspects to look forward to in the coming weeks. Backing fans, players and the impact of the Chelsea result, he said:
"Our away support has been great this season. It was nice to send them away from Chelsea with something to cheer. You always have a special relationship with away supporters. We`ve got to try and get a win. Hopefully we`ll give them something to shout about. They put that special effort in to travel everywhere, and invariably it`s a long journey home for them. You want to send them home happy.
Results like that bring everyone together - players, supporters and staff. You need everyone performing at their best to get anything at Stamford Bridge, and fans have got a big part to play urging the team on.
It`ll be a totally different game - we`re not going to be sitting back like we did at Chelsea. Dukes (Viduka) has been looking good in training. We had a fantastic end to the season with Dukes playing alongside myself and Oba. We almost made that formation our own and got some cracking results, so it`s nice for Dukes to be back in the fold. He`s been out a while, so I would have thought the manager will blood him in carefully. But he looks fit and well.
Obviously we had a good result at Chelsea. I suppose Middlesbrough will be looking at this as an opportunity to get three points, and we certainly are as well. It`s an evenly poised game. I wouldn`t swap our squad for their`s, but they`ve got home advantage. Every game is big, but this is has the added spice of being a reasonably local game.
They`ve got some good players, and so have we. The atmosphere will be big - I suppose for Middlesbrough they see it as their local derby, whereas for us we`ve got Sunderland. It`s hard to judge. Liverpool v Everton was always a big derby, and it always felt bigger at Goodison. When we played there you were going into the lion`s den.
At Anfield we were often favourites, so maybe the fans weren`t as up for it as they were when we were playing away. Up here anything can happen in derbies. There`s been home wins and away wins, even in my short time here. You take nothing for granted."
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