Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Barmy Army Is Backing Barrow; 7,000 Following Team to Boro

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Barmy Army Is Backing Barrow; 7,000 Following Team to Boro

Article excerpt

GARETH Southgate expects non-League Barrow to "fight for their lives" in today's FA Cup Third Round clash with his Middlesbrough side at the Riverside Stadium.

The Boro boss predicted his side will undergo a rigorous examination at the hands of a team that will be roared on by a stadium record away contingent of almost 7,000 supporters.

"It should be a fantastic atmosphere," he said. "It's great for the tie that there is that level of away support and it's a challenge for our fans to match the noise coming from the opposite end.

"For them, after getting through to the next round, they would be praying for a Premier League side and with the numbers they are bringing, clearly it has captured the imagination of their fans.

"It will be an unusual environment because normally the majority of the support is at our end, but teams have brought big followings here for FA Cup ties in the past and I think it adds to the occasion.

"It's still a great competition and the tie that we've got reminds everybo dy of the romance of the FA Cup. It's not going to be a relaxing afternoon for us because of the expectation level but it will be a good atmosphere."

Blue Square Premier side Barrow are renowned for their robust approach and Southgate knows he cannot afford to let the minnows get an early foothold in the game.

"You want to start well," he continued. "That's the period of the game where their fitness isn't an issue and anything can happen at the start of any match.

"You would expect any side from the lower division to come and fight for their lives so we've got to let the officials deal with that.

"Barrow bringing the support they are bringing will make it one of the better ties you could have and I think for us it's an opportunity to go out there and impose ourselves on a game."

Southgate has revealed that he will be making changes from the side which pushed Manchester United so impressively at Old Trafford on Monday night.

While Boro lost 1-0 to a late Dimitar Berbatov goal, the visitors showed a marked improvement on recent disappointing displays. …

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