The Middlesbrough manager, Steve McClaren, and his Bolton counterpart Sam Allardyce are both hoping that yesterday's Uefa Cup draw will bring the crowds back to their respective grounds.
McClaren got his wish when his side were given a tough tie against the Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart in the last 32, while Bolton were handed a glamorous meeting with Marseilles.
A crowd of just 9,436 turned out to watch Boro beat Litex Lovech at the Riverside on Thursday and the manager said that he wanted the club to land an attractive tie. "It's a great draw," said McClaren, whose side will play either Club Bruges or Roma if they get through. "They are a big club and I think the fans will come in droves to both legs. I wanted tough opponents and that's what we have got, but it suits us just fine."
Bolton could hardly have got a tougher draw than Marseilles, and Allardyce believes the fans' contribution for the first leg in February will play a significant part in their quest to fix a tie with either Rosenborg, of Norway, or Zenit St Petersburg.
"When you have a driving ambition to be a winner and you accept the rough with the smooth, you need the support if you are successful," Allardyce said.
Uefa Cup knock-out rounds
Litex Lovech v Strasbourg
Stuttgart v Middlesbrough
Slavia Prague v Palermo
Lokomotiv Moscow v Seville
Heerenveen v Steaua Bucharest
Bolton v Marseilles
Hertha Berlin v Rapid Bucharest
Basle v Monaco
Udinese v Lens
Rosenborg v St Petersburg
Club Bruges v Roma
Shalke 04 v Espanyol
Lille v Shakhtar Donetsk
Thun v Hamburg
Real Betis v AZ Alkmaar
Art Bratislava v Levski Sofia
First legs: 15 or 16 February; second legs all on 23 February.
* If Middlesbrough win, they will face the winners of Club Bruges v Roma.
* If Bolton win, they will play the winners of Rosenborg v St Petersburg
First legs: 9 March; second legs 15 or 16 MarchReuse content