BEN Gibson says Middlesbrough’s players will go to the Etihad Stadium relishing the chance to showcase their talent and not be worried about stagefright.
A trip to Manchester City is just about as hard a tie as you can get in the FA Cup.
And that’s the fourth-round assignment facing Boro as the Pemier League’s second-top side play host to the Championship’s number two.
Boro have already acquitted themselves well on the big stage this season, taking Liverpool to penalties in the Capital One Cup at Anfield before losing the legendary shoot-out 14-13.
Gibson, Boro born and bred, is desperate to play and test himself against the Premier League champions.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity, just like going to Anfield was,” said the central defender.
“The gaffer can only pick 11 players so some are going to be disappointed.
“But we’ll all buy into the team and squad sprit, which we have this season.
“For the lads who get to play – I hope to be one of them – it will be a chance to showcase yourself against some of the best players in the world.
“I know we normally try to make matches about us but I suppose [in this case] it does matter who you play against.
“But we want to go there and give a good account of ourselves.”
Boro are currently in fine fettle – proud to be sitting second in the Sky Bet Championship.
They moved one point behind Bournemouth on the back of Tuesday night’s win over Cardiff while the Cherries were losing 1-0 at Leeds.
But for all the delight at being back in the automatic promotion spots, Gibson told BBC Tees there was some disappointment they leaked a late goal to the Bluebirds.
Kenwyne Jones’s 86th-minute header was the first ex-Pools star Dimi Konstantopoulos and the defence have conceded in six games.
“After the game, Dimi said ‘Gibbo it feels like we’ve lost’,” explained Gibson. “We were disappointed.
“It was inevitable we were going to concede sometime.
“But it’s good [to be upset] because it shows we set our standards high and we want to stick to them.
“I don’t think we should concede goals, because we have good players, but we got the job done and the three points.”
– ROY KELLY