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Feb 25, 2009

Southgate hopes greatest hits video will fire Boro

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate his turned to the archives to try and inspire his crestfallen squad ahead of Wednesday night's FA Cup fifth round replay against West Ham United.

The Boro players have been shown a video of the goals they scored earlier in the season in an effort to motivate a side which has slipped to 19th place in the Premier League having scored just 18 goals all season, six less than basement club West Bromwich Albion.

''The videos were something we did as a group of staff to remind us of quality that's still there - it doesn't go,'' said Southgate explaining the idea. ''Sometimes when you're on a run of failures, missed chances and saves, you need to remind yourself of scoring, playing your best. They're useful exercises.

''This was just a compilation of all the goals, with the sun shining and people celebrating. Football should be fun but it's less enjoyable when you're not winning.''

Southgate's side have endured a painful run of 14 league games without a win and confidence is at a low ebb. The club's only goal in their last five games was scored by Stewart Downing in their 1-1 FA Cup draw with West Ham and they last scored in the Premier League on Jan 10.

But despite the Boro's current poor run, Southgate remains upbeat and believes the club can recover the form that saw the club pick up 17 points in the season's first 12 games: ''Everything goes in cycles and you've got to ride the rough times out, '' he said.

Boro will be without midfielder Didier Digard for the replay with West Ham after the Frenchman was sidelined for up to 12 weeks after suffering a partial tear of the medial ligaments in his right knee and a partial rupture of the quadraceps muscle in his left leg following a challenge by Wigan's Boro old-boy Lee Cattermole at the weekend.

Striker Marlon King is cup-tied having played in the competition for Hull, but full-back Andrew Taylor could return from an ankle problem.

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