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McClaren hopes to turn up heat

Published: Thursday 24 February 2005, 13.53CET
Middlesbrough FC manager Steve McClaren is hoping the snow clears ahead of the second leg against Grazer AK.

Tournament statistics


Goals scored16
Attempts on target21
Attempts off target3
Fouls committed0
Yellow cards11
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Published: Thursday 24 February 2005, 13.53CET

McClaren hopes to turn up heat

Middlesbrough FC manager Steve McClaren is hoping the snow clears ahead of the second leg against Grazer AK.

Middlesbrough FC manager Steve McClaren's greatest concern ahead of the second leg of his side's UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie with Grazer AK is the weather. Heavy snow on Teesside has interrupted training for both sides and delayed GAK's arrival in the north-east of England.

'Game must be played'
"The most important thing is the game's got to go ahead," said McClaren, whose side will be confident of progressing after drawing 2-2 in Austria last week. Neither team have been in action since then, and Middlesbrough have no new injuries to report. Gaizka Mendieta, Ugo Ehiogu and Malcolm Christie are all long-term absentees, while George Boateng and Mark Viduka are both a fortnight from fitness.

Job returns
McClaren, whose side are unbeaten at home in the UEFA Cup, opted for a 4-5-1 formation in Austria with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as the lone striker. But McClaren is expected to revert to 4-4-2 at the Riverside stadium with striker Joseph-Désiré Job coming in for midfield player Doriva.

Tighten up
GAK came from behind twice in Austria, and Middlesbrough defender Michael Reiziger has warned his side must tighten up if they are to advance. "In the first 20 minutes GAK had some chances, but they didn't create them, we did it for them," he said. "This time, if we are consistent at the back and in midfield there shouldn't be a problem."

Reiziger's confidence is countered by that of GAK coach Walter Schachner. "We showed last week that it's possible to beat Middlesbrough, so why not in their stadium?" he said. "We have to fight hard and concentrate 100 per cent. The first game was not perfect, but good. This time it must be perfect. If so, we'll pull off a surprise."

Kollmann suspended
Schachner's cause has not been helped by the loss of defender Gregor Pötscher to injury, and the suspension of striker Roland Kollmann, who was sent off in the first leg after scoring GAK's second equaliser.

Confidence high
The draw with Middlesbrough was GAK's only competitive match since mid-December, but they still travel with confidence high. Their UEFA Champions League qualifying win away to Liverpool FC last season was the first victory by an Austrian side on English soil. They are aiming for the second on Thursday.

Last updated: 24/02/05 13.53CET