Boro focus on Swiss after Xavier's ban
Thursday 20 October 2005
The 32-year-old was left behind while his case is investigated by the sport's world governing body, Fifa. Stuart Parnaby is likely to fill the right-back position at the Hardturm Stadium.
Ugo Ehiogu could return after shaking off a groin problem while the reserve goalkeeper Brad Jones may be included following his recovery from an ankle ligament injury.
But Fabio Rochemback is ineligible, Ray Parlour is out for two months after undergoing knee surgery and the young midfielder Adam Johnson is likely to be missing again as he recovers from illness.
Despite these problems the Middlesbrough defender Franck Queudrue is determined that his side will return with at least a point in theiraccount. With Louis van Gaal's AZ Alkmaar waiting in the wings in the Netherlands next month, Queudrue knows his side's toughest tests will come on the road.
However, having learnt from their experiences in the competition last season, Queudrue is confident Boro can lay the foundation for qualification for the knockout stages on the Continent and exploit their advantage in home games against Dnipro and Litex Lovech.
"We have got Alkmaar, who look very good," he said. "They play good football and they are doing well in the league also, so it will be tricky. I think we will need a point in each of the away games to make sure we go through."
Grasshopper are third in the Swiss league and undefeated in six games. Having seen Boro underachieve in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Portsmouth, they may feel more confident of their chances of success.
Queudrue knows nothing can be taken for granted against a club which has a long-established European pedigree.
"They are a team that's used to playing in Europe," he said. "The Swiss league is not as strong as the English league, but they are there and have got the experience of playing there regularly, so it will be a tough game."
Boro enjoyed their first venture into Europe last season and learnt quickly what it takes to progress in the competition.
"First and foremost, you have to make your name known in Europe, and that's what we did last season," added Queudrue.
"That makes things better all round for the club, for the merchandising, for the fans, to attract new players as well. It was a big achievement and it's really good to go there for a second year and, hopefully, years to come.
"The contest is not the same sometimes, but the approach is still the same. It's a different flavour because it is only one game; a league is 38 games.
"But in the cups, you never know, you are playing one game at a time."
Middlesbrough (from): Schwarzer, Jones, Knight, Parnaby, Queudrue, Pogatetz, Southgate, Riggott, Ehiogu, Bates, Boateng, Mendieta, Morrison, Doriva, Nemeth, Kennedy, Hasselbaink, Viduka, Yakubu, Maccarone, Graham.
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