Middlesbrough: Paddy McNair on his Premier League and Coventry dream
After a play-off semi-final loss to Aston Villa last season, Boro looked poised to claim promotion again.
Tony Pulis’ side failed the following season, and for one reason or another, so did the Boro teams led by Neil Warnock and Chris Wilder.
Boro has been closer to a return to the Premier League than ever since he was last eliminated from the top flight in 2017.
And as McNair prepares for his biggest night at the Riverside since moving from Wearside to Teesside the following year, the Northern Ireland international is more determined than ever to make his Boro dream come true.
“We’ve had some big cup games but the opportunity to get to Wembley is huge,” he said of Wednesday night’s second leg against Coventry, where the sides are level after Sunday’s stalemate.
“I just hope we make the fans proud and make it happen.”
“Boro are a big club, a Premier League club. When I came here the dream was to ascend. We have good chances. Home advantage on Wednesday, we look forward to that.”
If McNair can once again match the standards he set Sunday lunchtime, Boro has every chance of securing a date at Wembley Stadium.
The 28-year-old was a formidable player alongside Darragh Lenihan, who did an excellent job of captivating Coventry’s 21-goal contender Viktor Gyokeres and preventing Sky Blues from scoring a single shot on goal.
It was a painful affair, as McNair found when he looked in the mirror after the game.
“I’m sure you can see what happened, I’m missing half a tooth,” he laughed.
It happened during a collision with Gyokeres in the second half.
“He’s a very good player, I’ve played him a few times,” McNair said.
“Every time you play him you know it’s going to be tough.
“I thought me, Darragh and Tommy, the whole defense, got on well with him. He’s a very good player and we have to repeat that on Wednesday.”
“I don’t think they had a shot on target and Gyokeres is obviously a good player. We knew it would be difficult to get into the game. You can tell I had a good game but now I’m just forgetting it and going on until Wednesday.”
The semi-finals are at stake but Boro has put in an excellent performance at Riverside since Carrick’s appointment, scoring in every game and losing only to champions Burnley.
McNair said: “The atmosphere will be amazing. I just hope we cross the finish line.”
“In a way, you just can’t think about what’s at stake. It’s a different game. Once you start thinking about it, it’s not the way to go. It’s just about preparing like you do for any game. We are looking forward to it.” ”
https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/sport/23521721.middlesbrough-paddy-mcnair-premier-league-dream-coventry/?ref=rss Middlesbrough: Paddy McNair on his Premier League and Coventry dream