Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: THE BIG MATCH; West Ham V Boro at Upton Park, Tomorrow at 3pm

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: THE BIG MATCH; West Ham V Boro at Upton Park, Tomorrow at 3pm

Article excerpt

KNOW THE FORM

BORO moved into a rich vein of form during their run of three home games in a week.

They twice bounced back from going behind in the derby against Newcastle to earn a share of the spoils, thanks to Mido's opener and Julio Arca's second leveller.

Then Boro comfortably accounted for League One side Northampton Town in the second round of the Carling Cup, when Fabio Rochemback opening the scoring with his stunning opener.

But the best was saved for last when Boro completely overwhelmed Birmingham City.

It could easily have been six or seven, though Boro missed a few good chances and had to settle for two goals at the final whistle.

WHAT WE SAY ABOUT THEM

GARETH SOUTHGATE: "The players are on a high after their three performances in a week and we want to keep it going at West Ham.

"People keep reminding me that we don't have a great record over the years West Ham but it means nothing when we kick off on Saturday.

"Our away form this season is better than their home form and we will go there determined to maintain our run.

"We are a different team from those that have gone to West Ham in recent years and we have created a fresh impetus for ourselves.

"We are going into every game believing that we can take all three points and Saturday's game will be no different."

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT

RESOLUTE skipper George Boateng is going to be a hard man to prise out of the side.

The midfielder, who suffered an up and down campaign last term, has been a revelation in the new season.

It means that Boro's pounds 5m new boy Gary O'Neil may have to wait for his Boro debut.

Gareth Southgate's four-man midfield unit of Boateng, Julio Arca, Fabio Rochemback and Stewart Downing has been collectively playing out of its skin and the manager will find it difficult to make changes. Downing has fortunately returned unscathed following a three minute run out as a substitute for England on Wednesday, though keeper Mark Schwarzer faces a late fitness test.

KNOW THE FORM

WEST Ham are still awaiting their first win of the season at Upton Park, though they recorded two wins in a row on the road when last in action. …

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