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Posted Fri 15 Mar 13

Boro v Blues preview

Blues make the long trip up to the north east this Saturday to play Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

It is the first away game for Lee Clark's side since their heavy 5-2 defeat at Hull City. Since then Blues have collected four points from a possible six, with a home draw against Blackpool and an impressive 3-1 win against Derby last weekend.

Following an excellent start to the season where they were one of the front-runners for promotion, Middlesbrough have suffered a real drop off in form since the turn of the year. Tony Mowbray's side have picked up just seven points from a possible 36 and that has seen them drop out of the play-off places and down to ninth.

"In the first half of the season they (Boro) were fantastic," said Clark. "When we played them at St. Andrew's they were one of the form teams with the way they played and the quality of their players.

"That hasn't changed; I just think they've been on a run you wouldn't have imagined. In their last 13 league games they've had ten defeats and a draw, which tells its own story. It just shows you how well they started because they are still on the fringes.

"I think they’ve also been hit quite strongly with injuries as well over the last few months and they’ve just had a downturn in results."

When Blues were last on their travels at Hull they found themselves a goal down within the first minute and trailing by three at half-time. Clark says he expects a much-improved start from his players his players on Saturday afternoon.

"It will be a difficult place to go," he said. "But we need to start the game in the right manner, unlike we did at Hull, and put in a performance like we have most of the time away from home where one we frustrate the home fans, make them become a bit anxious, and two we dictate the game to them.

"The crowd will be loud and we need to dampen that and make sure they keep having negative thoughts around the stadium and on the pitch because of the bad run they’re on at the moment."

A win for Blues at The Riverside could see them increase the gap between themselves and the drop zone.

"We're still looking over our shoulders because the teams in the bottom half of the table are showing better form than the teams in the top half of the table," added Clark.

"So our objective is to take as many points as possible from these last nine games and finish the season on a high, and try and finish as high as we can in the division."

For ticket information click here.
For Blues team news click here.
To read Tony Mowbray's comments click here.
For Boro team news click here.

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