Boro Must Keep Bubbling At West Ham
BORO face a tricky test of their embryonic attacking zeal and 'work for the shirt' steel in the Smoke. There has been much talk of renewed optimism following a gritty derby display against Newcastle and a sizzling show against Birmingham City but if that upturn in the ambient temperature is to be turned into the bums-on-seats support that the club's big hitters have appealed for then Boro must keep the pot of positivity bubbling.
And despite Keith Lamb' s invitation to take sides over the Pied Piper of Doom Bernie Slaven which prompted the pessimists to articulate their opposition, there has been an upsurge of optimism. A string of decent home displays, some good results and a generally warm welcome for Gareth Southgate's transfer dealings have outweighed the gloom prompted by the exit of Viduka, the saga of millstone marksman Yakubu and the dire display at Wigan - although you get the distinct impression that the fledgling recovery is fragile so it is politically important that Boro keep getting results and start getting wins where maybe they would not have in the past.
And Boro have a perfect chance to show there is substance to the spin about a new mentality as they will have to turn back the tide of history if they are to beat West Ham. We don't have a have a great record against the Hammers. Boro have lost seven games out of nine at Upton Park in the Premiership (and lost away in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park, a result that may well have knocked the stuffing out of the team before Eindhoven) although we have won eight of nine at the Riverside.
And Boro have a perfect chance to strike a righteous blow for justice. Given the way the Hammers weaseled off the hook over the 'third party' registration of Carlos Tevez and the subsequent chicanery in the unedifying red tape row that followed - plus West Ham's self destructive dressing room gamble of signing Dyer and Bellamy to add to Bowyer - it is the moral duty of all who care for the integrity of the game to seek West Ham's defeat in every match. Plus, last season's 2-0 defeat in March was engineered by Tevez, a player who should be rights have been deemed ineligible. At Upton Park Boro have truth and light on their side.