Norwich v Boro, biggest game in Middlesbrough’s history

HUGE GAME: Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson
HUGE GAME: Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson

BEN Gibson has tagged Middlesbrough’s game at Norwich City tonight as the most crucial in the club’s 139-year history.

Fourth-placed Boro go to Carrow Road for their third-last game of the Championship knowing that a win would see them top the table ahead of current occupiers Bournemouth and second-placed Watford who both play tomorrow.

The way the Premier League is and the gap of the financial effect, it’s the biggest game in the club’s history

BEN GIBSON

Both Gibson and head coach Aitor Karanka, however, have made the admission that defeat to the Canaries would mean the Teessiders would have to settle for the play-offs which they are already guaranteed a place.

Boro fan Gibson cited the financial benefits of Premier League residence as indication of how important promotion to the top tier is.

“The way the Premier League is and the gap of the financial effect, it’s the biggest game in the club’s history,” he said. “If we get back it’s different to the last time. It has more of an impact than winning the Carling Cup and getting to the UEFA Cup final.

“The effect of £100million is irreplaceable.

“It has a greater effect than what the UEFA Cup would have had.

“That would have had a massive effect but in terms of change this is bigger.

“As a fan it’s as important because financially the difference and impact on the town is massive.”

The significance of the clash in East Anglia has been reverberating around the Rockliffe Park training pitches. “It all boils down to this game,” he added. “It’s do-or-die. We have to go there and win.

“We need three wins out of three if we want to get automatic promotion. It’s a massive opportunity.”

The fulfilment of reaching the play-offs with three games to spare – the season’s target – has lessened the pressure on the Teessiders, Gibson insists.

“The pressure’s on the top three. We have nothing to lose,” he said.

“You hope Watford and Bournemouth slip up and we take our chances. It (the top of the table) has tossed and turned a lot. I have no doubt there will be more changes to the league positions and we have to concentrate on getting three points tonight.”

– CHRIS BELL