BEN Gibson insists he and his Middlesbrough team-mates will be just as motivated for tonight’s clash with Birmingham as they were against Arsenal.
The 2-0 defeat to the Gunners in the FA Cup fifth round leaves just the Championship left to concentrate matters on with a trip to the Midlands (kick off 7.45pm) the first of a testing three-week schedule.
Almost two-thirds of the season has surpassed with Boro comfortably in the promotion mix.
It is that reason why they won’t allow their standards and preparations to dip.
The central defender said: “It shouldn’t be hard to motivate ourselves because of the situation we’re in.
“Players shouldn’t need any extra motivation just because you’re coming down from playing at the Emirates to playing at St Andrews.
“We’ve got to win games in the last 16 games.
“We need to win games to get out of this league, we don’t want to waste all the hard work we’ve done.
“It’s a massive game and we’ve got to get three points from it.”
Boss Aitor Karanka has assembled a deep squad with at least two players competing for one available spot.
The rivalry amongst the players is friendly but it leads to competitive training which Gibson says transfers onto the pitch.
“We’ve got a good dressing room with good staff around us and people are expecting and demanding the best from each other,” the England Under 21 ace told BBC Tees.
“Training mentality is like a game.
“People expect the best in the tiniest little scenarios and you can only reap the rewards from that on the pitch.
“I think that’s why we’ve got such a good winning mentality and why we have got over the line in games this season.
“We’ve come this far but nothing’s achieved yet.
“We need to keep making sure we finish the job off.
“We’ll take it one game at a time and try and get three points from each.”
Jelle Vossen, Adam Forshaw and Adam Reach could all be set for returns to the Boro starting XI against the Blues tonight with Karanka rotating his side to cope with the hectic fixture list.