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Boro game preview.

Who would have thought it eh? After KK walked away following the dismal 1-0 defeat at home to Bolton, most fans thought there would be nothing to play for and the season would peter out unspectacularly.
However, step forward Psycho who has resurrected the hopes and the fanciful European ambition is now within our grasp.
The mathematics are simple - we win and we can plan the away jaunts to Prague, Budapest and Tallin. The hype and momentum is behind City as we are on a fantastic run at the moment and on the back of Stuart Pearce's announcement as manaer.
What of Middlesbrough though? Well, put simply we are useless against them. We have yet to win in the Premiership against them and if I'm not mistaken the last victory we had against them was in Division 1 when a section of their fans came across the idea of gaining entry to the North Stand at the end of the game.
They are a solid side but seem to be a bit of a crossroads with their playing squad. On the one hand they have seasoned 'veterans' such as Schwarzer, Southgate, Hasselbaink, Parlour and Viduka but also have youngsters such as Downing and Riggott from their Youth Cup winning side breaking through.
The fact that Middlesbrough can take the draw is crucial to how they will approach the game. I believe they will set out their stall to defend, not take risks and treat the game like an away European tie (which they have had experience of this season) and throw the gauntlet down at City to come and win the game.
City will need to be patient and not get too concerned if we don't get an early breakthrough. Much I think will rest on the shoulders of Shaun Wright-Phillips to unlock their defence and it will be a bonus if Robbie Fowler is passed fit.
Yes, it may only be a UEFA Cup place at stake, but as Stuart Pearce hinted at, it could make a difference to the calibre of player we can attract this summer and could be crucial to the progress the club makes.