George Friend wants no Simon Eastwood heroics at Blackburn Rovers v Middlesbrough

A WIN, BY GEORGE: George Friend (above) with Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford
A WIN, BY GEORGE: George Friend (above) with Middlesbrough's Patrick Bamford

GEORGE Friend is hoping Blackburn keeper Simon Eastwood doesn’t replicate his heroics of a month ago tomorrow afternoon (kick off 3pm).

Fresh from Boxing Day’s 3-0 win against Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough travel across the Pennines to take on Gary Bowyer’s Blackburn, just one month since the side’s last met in a feisty affair at the Riverside.

That 1-1 draw saw Boro head coach Aitor Karanka sent to the stands and given a subsequent one-match touchline ban for a clash with the fourth official.

Jason Steele, on loan from Boro, is ineligible for the game because of his loan contract so Eastwood will step in between the sticks.

It was on Teesside where Eastwood proved Patrick Bamford’s nemesis, denying the young striker a hatful of times as Rovers restricted Boro to just one goal all afternoon before scoring a controversial late equaliser.

“Hopefully the keeper won’t have quite the performance he had here at the Riverside,” Friend said. “I wouldn’t say we owe them one but we want to show that we are the better side by the scoreline.

“The Forest game was a massive win but it counts for nothing if we don’t get anything at Blackburn. We have to keep the momentum going.”

Friend continued. “It’ll be a tough one for us because it comes so soon after Forest but that’s why we have this [big] squad.

“Hopefully we can produce another good performance and that crowd (of 7,000 Boro away fans) can be vital with pushing us especially when a few of us have tired legs.”