FA Cup glory will not be sacrificed, says Southgate

The manager of Middlesbrough, Gareth Southgate, will not allow the club's fight for Premier League survival to take precedence over their dreams of FA Cup glory. The Teessiders are languishing inside the relegation zone without a win in 14 League games. They face title contenders Liverpool at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday well aware that a failure to end that record could leave them in even deeper trouble.

However, Southgate knows just how infrequently the opportunity comes along for players at clubs outside the top four to win trophies, and he is not about to give up on the FA Cup as he prepares his troops for tonight's fifth-round replay against West Ham United.

The former England defender was in the Boro side which lost 1-0 to the Hammers at Villa Park in the semi-finals in 2006 a matter of weeks before leading them out for the Uefa Cup final against Seville, and he admits that tie was one that got away.

Asked if his job on the pitch that day was easier than his current one, Southgate said with a smile: "I don't know because I was struggling then to keep up with people, so I would say I am better served being where I am tomorrow than where I was that day.

"No, that's history. It was a game that, with everything that surrounded it, there seemed to be a bit of destiny about them getting through. We had our minds focused on the Uefa Cup, really, at that time, which was a missed opportunity in a sense. That's the way it was then – but tomorrow is completely different."

Boro drew 1-1 at Upton Park in the first game when only a late Herita Ilunga equaliser denied the visitors victory at the first attempt.

The winners tonight face a trip to Everton in the last eight, but having seen his side blow a gilt-edged chance last season when they lost at home to eventual runners-up Cardiff City in the quarter-finals, Southgate will take nothing for granted. Defeat by the Championship outfit marked a low point in the club's season, but taught them a series of valuable lessons, and he hopes they will be put to good use this time around.

Southgate said: "That was a game we got wrong, but we learnt a lot of lessons from that. We were stronger to the end of the season through that experience last year. But this is completely different. The year before, we got to the quarter-finals and we played Manchester United, so the draw wasn't kind to us that year.

"We know the route that's there to us now, but West Ham is all we are thinking about," added Southgate.

The disappointment around the Riverside as Cardiff celebrated an unlikely victory was palpable, and Boro's struggles this season have given their fans little to cheer.

That was not helped last week when some supporters received letters asking them to make less noise at games amid complaints from people sitting nearby, sparking a scornful response in the town and further afield.

Boro will be without midfielder Didier Digard, who has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks with knee ligament and thigh injuries after a crunching tackle from Boro old boy Lee Cattermole, and the cup-tied Marlon King, although Andrew Taylor could return from an ankle problem.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable