MIDDLESBROUGH’S Ben Gibson can sense the optimism around the town and its football club – but insists it counts for nothing at this stage, writes Chris Bell.
The Teesside-born defender is as pleased as anyone by Boro’s impressive start to the season that has seen talk of promotion becoming more frequent.
Yet the England U21 defender – perhaps with memories of that infamous promotion collapse in the 2012-13 season - says that the only important date is the season’s finale.
“I’m excited, but the table doesn’t matter at this point,” said the defender who was in the squad for today’s third against second match at home to Watford.
“We’ll look at the table on May 2.
“Only then does the table become important. We have to keep knocking the games back.
“If we don’t carry on our it could be a disappointing end to the season.
“It’s going to be tight, a lot of teams are involved this year.
“We’ll concentrate on ourselves. It doesn’t matter where you are now, only at the end of the season.”
Gibson was on the bench for Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Wolves which ended the seven-match unbeaten run for the Teessiders.
But the 21-year-old could return today for the vital match against the Hornets - a home win would take Boro into an automatic promotion place.
The prize of promotion to the Premier League is not lost on Gibson who understands the importance of top-flight football for the town.
“I notice the buzz about the town probably more than most as I’m a local lad and it’s good and it’s important we do that,” he went on.
“As we’ve said for a long time, we need to get back in the Premier League, not just for the club but also for the town because the town lives off its football.”