Middlesbrough v Sunderland: Ayala urges Boro to focus on the game '“ and forget it's a derby

Defender Dani Ayala cannot wait for Middlesbrough's home Sky Bet Championship clash with Sunderland tomorrow (12.15pm kick-off).

Saturday, 4th November 2017, 4:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:15 am
Dani Ayala

The Spaniard insists that Boro’s players know just how crucial the Riverside showdown is to the supporters.

“As a player you have to forget it’s a derby, focus on the game,” he told mfc.co.uk.

“Hopefully we can give them something to shout about.”

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Ayala is fighting fit after enduring injury trouble earlier this season, and he has grafted hard to reclaim a place in Boro’s team.

“Now I’m 100% fit and that’s the main thing,” said the former Norwich and Liverpool centre-back ahead of the Wear-Tees derby showdown.

“I know I’m just going to get better and better,

“I’m back in the team and I’ll make sure I stay there.”

Boro have won two on the road to move back up the table, beating Reading 2-0 and Hull 3-1, following a recent disappointing run of home results.

Boss Garry Monk said: “At home, our fans have been great this season. We want to give them a performance –it’s the ultimate to give them a derby win and continue that run on our turf.”

Fabio Da Silva is back in training after a bout of illness, and is fighting to win a place in the team for tomorrow. Striker Rudy Gestede is set to return to full training during the international break which follows tomorrow’s game.