HAVING been part of the Middlesbrough side knocked out of the FA Cup by Burton Albion almost two years ago, Nicky Bailey insists Tony Mowbray’s men will not take their third round tie against minnows Hastings United lightly.
Boro welcome Hastings to the Riverside on Saturday looking to repeat their encouraging run in the Capital One Cup, which ended at Swansea in December.
As members of the Ryman Premier League, Hastings are the lowest ranked club left in the competition and sit five steps below Boro in the English league system.
With Justin Hoyte missing through injury, Bailey is the only player in the squad that started the defeat to Burton and the memory of that result is at the front of his mind going into Saturday’s tie.
“A couple of years ago we played Burton and they did us on their patch,” he said.
“We know we’re going to have to be 100 per cent and whoever gets the jersey has to go out there and put things right.”
Bailey played 90 minutes in the New Year’s Day defeat at Derby and although he admits the Hastings game is a potential upset, he believes it is an opportunity for the squad to get their confidence back.
He said: “We can go out there, score a few goals and get the confidence back. It’s not like we haven’t been scoring goals.
“We’ve been leaking a few too many of late but hopefully we can get a clean sheet, score a few goals and whoever gets the jersey does the business.”
Bailey ended the defeat at Derby as a makeshift centreback after Jonathan Woodgate limped off in the first half, but the midfielder insists he is happy to play anywhere.
The former Charlton midfielder has found his firstteam opportunities limited in comparison to previous seasons, but with six months left on his contract, Bailey revealed he wants to stay on Teesside beyond the summer.
He said: “I’ve got six months left on my contract and we’ll see what happens. I don’t want to go into it too much because nothing has been said. Hopefully, something will get sorted.
“My preference would be to stay. I’ve got no reason to want to leave. My family is happy up here but I’m not one to start blabbering my mouth off so whatever will be will be.
“It has been frustrating not playing as many minutes, but at the end of the day it’s the manager’s decision.
“He knows I want to play but I’m not going to be the one who goes in and see him every week and ask why I’m not playing.
“He knows what I can do and if he wants to use me he will. I’m always happy to put the Middlesbrough jersey on.
I always give it my all and hopefully I’ll get more minutes.
“I’ve not really played there (centre-back) a lot but I just enjoy playing football and I’ll play wherever I’m told to play. It’s not just about me, though, and hopefully we can put that performance behind us and move onto the next home game.”
Mowbray will use Saturday’s match as an opportunity to give some of his fringe players a chance, but with a growing injury list to contend with the Boro boss won’t be able to rest certain players.
Up to 11 first team players are nursing injuries at the moment, but Bailey insists that isn’t an excuse for bad performances.
“It’s simple. We weren’t good enough against Derby.
End of story. If you go to a place like that and don’t play well you’re going to get beat.
On the day we really just weren’t good enough.
“We’ve got a good squad.
We have a lot of injuries but everyone gets them and the 11 that go out there have to do a job and we didn’t do that against Derby.”