Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

ALARM BELL IS RINGING; Bates Warns Boro Must Start Fighting: Alarm Bells Are Ringing

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

ALARM BELL IS RINGING; Bates Warns Boro Must Start Fighting: Alarm Bells Are Ringing

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS

MATTHEW Bates admits that alarm bells are ringing in the Boro dressing room.

Now the skipper has sounded out a stark warning: start turning possession into points or we will be stuck in the basement to the bitter end.

Boro dominated for long spells at Coventry on Saturday but missed a penalty and went down 1-0 - a familiar scenario this season and one that has dumped the team in the drop zone.

Boro have slipped to second bottom after a run of just one point from four games including three narrow 1-0 defeats.

And defender Bates - who gave away the penalty to gift the Sky Blues the winner - admits the squad see the dangers of being sucked into the dogfight.

"There''s a lot of things get said in the dressing room after a match like that, he revealed.

"There''s a realism in there. People know the situation and people aren''t naive. We know what is happening.

"A lot of us were in the team that was in the Premier League and got relegated so we know exactly what can happen and we know what we need to do to avoid it.

"We have to stick together, we have to fight and we have to start getting results quickly because if we don''t there is a chance we will be down there in the bottom three for the whole season.

It could turn out to be a real dog fight at the end andwe don''t want to be part of that.

But despite the gravity of the situation Bates believes that Boro are good enough to play their way out of danger - and can see signs of an upturn.

The team played some slick football at Coventry and, as in recent weeks, had the lion's share of possession.

They played a patient passing game and for long spells the attacking action was all in the Sky Blues half of the pitch.

But Bates insisted Boro had to quickly start to make that count.

"We can''t keep getting results like we are," he said. "When you look at the table and the big picture it is a bad situation. …

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