Dan calls for confidence ahead of Boro battle
Written by Rory Mitchinson
Newcastle United FC
Dan Barlaser has encouraged Newcastle United Under-23s to head into tonight’s Premier League 2 Division Two clash at Middlesbrough with confidence as the young Magpies target home advantage in their upcoming play-off semi-final.
Peter Beardsley’s side bring the curtain down on the regular campaign at the Riverside Stadium, knowing that victory will secure a St. James’ Park date with either Fulham, Blackburn Rovers or West Ham United.
They made sure of a top-five berth after seeing off the Cottagers at Whitley Park a week past Monday, ending a three-game winless sequence in the Premier League 2’s second-tier at an opportune time.
Newcastle eased past Boro on Tyneside back in October, and midfielder Barlaser is hopeful of a repeat performance against Graeme Lee’s troops tonight.
“Middlesbrough have had a good string of results – and they won at West Ham last week – but we have the capability to beat anyone in the league,” he told nufc.co.uk. “I’m expecting it to be a really tough game, but we beat them quite comfortably at home, when they played a couple of first-teamers. We have to be confident, go for the win and get the home draw.
“The performance against Fulham a couple of weeks ago was really good. We stuck at it, and didn’t make the silly mistakes that have led to us losing games. It was a vital win because it guaranteed us a play-off place, which is what we wanted.”
After finishing down in tenth-place last term, United have rarely looked out of the promotion picture this time out, and Barlaser insists that he and his teammates have everything to gain as they gear up for a defining period.
“It is massive,” he said. “The last three or four years, we haven’t come anywhere close. There was one year where we were top for a while, but we struggled in the second half of the season and we slipped down the table. But, this year, we’ve progressed up and up.
“All of the lads are ready to go for it. We’ve got nothing to lose – we’ve beaten all of the teams we could play – and we’re capable of winning it.”
"Middlesbrough have had a good string of results, but we have the capability to beat anyone in the league. We have to be confident, go for the win and get the home draw."