Football: Boro to find new attitude for Bury

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The Independent Online
MIDDLESBROUGH play hosts to Bury today knowing that they must reverse their recent form or risk ending the season with nothing to show for their endeavours.

Since losing in the Coca-Cola Cup final to Chelsea, Boro have lost both their League games, but their assistant manager, Viv Anderson, is adamant that his side can recover quickly as long as they avoid complacency.

"We deserved to lose at West Brom last Saturday because we thought we just had to turn up for the points," he said. "It does not work like that in football because everyone wants to beat us."

Middlesbrough will be without Paul Gascoigne (foot) and Andy Townsend (calf). Marco Branca could return after being on the bench against Sheffield United in midweek. Stan Ternent is hoping to name an unchanged Bury team following last week's 2-2 draw at home to Huddersfield.

The First Division leaders, Nottingham Forest, are expected to be unchanged for their trip to Bradford. Geoff Thomas has not recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of last week's 2-1 win over Ipswich so Andy Johnson will continue to deputise. Wayne Jacobs is Bradford City's major doubt with a sore pelvis as they look to extend their 11-match unbeaten home record.

Sheffield United should keep the starting line-up that beat Middlesbrough in midweek for their game against Norwich. Nicky Marker, who was left out on Tuesday, is now suspended. Norwich could have their winger Darren Eadie back in the starting line-up after a month out with a hamstring strain. The midfielder Mike Milligan is also in contention after recovering from a hernia.

Wolves, without a goal in the last three games, but hoping that they can still claim a place in the play-offs, could recall 17-year-old Robbie Keane today against Manchester City. Their central defender Dean Richards is still out with a hamstring injury.

The City manager, Joe Royle, may draft in midfielder Kevin Horlock to replace the suspended Jeff Whitley. Horlock is fit again after ligament damage while Michael Brown is also available after a ban.

Ipswich will be unchanged from the side that gave up a lead and lost 2-1 to Forest last week as they host Tranmere. Mark Venus joins the squad for the first time since aggravating a broken toe in the Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final against Chelsea in January.

The Tranmere manager, John Aldridge, has no fresh injury worries and is likely to keep the side who drew with Portsmouth in midweek.

Trevor Francis must feel that his Birmingham side can still qualify for the play-offs, and he welcomes back striker Paul Furlong today against Port Vale after 12 games missing through injury and suspension. Central defenders Steve Bruce and Michael Johnson are also available again after suspension. Port Vale will give a fitness check to defender Andy Hill, who has a hamstring injury, before finalising their squad.

At the bottom on the First Division, Stoke's caretaker manager, Alan Durban, will recall midfielder Kevin Keen for the visit of Portsmouth as he attempts to negotiate his way out of the relegation zone.

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