Before each home game, Eagles skipper Scott Dann previews his side's upcoming match in his programme notes. Here he speaks ahead of the visit of Middlesbrough.
The result in our last home game against Sunderland was a massive disappointment and we head into this game determined to put that right.
It was a strange afternoon but our performance in that first half wasn’t good enough, especially during the three or four minutes before half-time which decided the whole game. It was surreal being 1-0 down after 40 minutes, and then before you know it you’re going in at the break four goals down in front of our own fans to a team in a similar position.
It meant that things had to be put right, and therefore it was only correct that we went into the training ground on the Sunday after to have a good chat between ourselves and go through the first half again, trying to put something in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
After a good week’s work, there was plenty of encouragement from the game against Stoke City that things have been taken on board. I missed the game through injury but from what I saw and heard it was a much more solid performance. Perhaps we didn’t threaten their goal as much as we would have liked and we didn’t get any points from the game which was disappointing, however on the back of the Sunderland game we needed to be more resolute and we were for the majority of the game.
I had to sit it out due to a nerve issue rather than anything muscular such as the hamstring problems I’d had earlier in the season. It meant I had to go away and have an injection to settle that down, but thankfully it’s worked. Since then, I’ve had a full week’s worth of training heading into today’s game so I’m back fit and ready to go.
Speaking of training, things have changed since the new staff have come in and there are lots of new ideas. We’ve swapped the days off and we’re working a lot harder earlier in the week with some intense, but enjoyable, sessions. Everyone in the changing room likes to work hard and that’s what we’ve been doing, and hopefully that’ll start paying off when it comes to match days.
The first of those comes today and it’s a huge game for us. It’s one where we’ll be looking to take the game to them and claim the three points, especially after the last performance at home. As players, we feel as though we owe it the fans and everyone associated with the club to put things right as soon as possible because the Sunderland display wasn’t good enough, so we have to go out there and put in a huge performance to try and get a massive result.
It’s going to be a tight game as Middlesbrough don’t concede many goals and when you look at their results over the last 25 games there’s been plenty of close matches. However, we’re the home team and we need to find a way through them, like we did at the Riverside Stadium back in September, to make sure we get the victory.