Middlesbrough v Sunderland: Ayala urges Boro to focus on the game – and forget it’s a derby

Dani Ayala
Dani Ayala

Defender Dani Ayala cannot wait for Middlesbrough’s home Sky Bet Championship clash with Sunderland tomorrow (12.15pm kick-off).

The Spaniard insists that Boro’s players know just how crucial the Riverside showdown is to the supporters.

“As a player you have to forget it’s a derby, focus on the game,” he told mfc.co.uk.

“Hopefully we can give them something to shout about.”

Ayala is fighting fit after enduring injury trouble earlier this season, and he has grafted hard to reclaim a place in Boro’s team.

“Now I’m 100% fit and that’s the main thing,” said the former Norwich and Liverpool centre-back ahead of the Wear-Tees derby showdown.

“I know I’m just going to get better and better,

“I’m back in the team and I’ll make sure I stay there.”

Boro have won two on the road to move back up the table, beating Reading 2-0 and Hull 3-1, following a recent disappointing run of home results.

Boss Garry Monk said: “At home, our fans have been great this season. We want to give them a performance –it’s the ultimate to give them a derby win and continue that run on our turf.”

Fabio Da Silva is back in training after a bout of illness, and is fighting to win a place in the team for tomorrow. Striker Rudy Gestede is set to return to full training during the international break which follows tomorrow’s game.