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Higgy: I'll be watching at Wembley as a supporter.

Byline: Mike Brown Reporter

CRAIG Hignett will be among the Boro faithful cheering on the team in Monday's play-off final.

The former Boro star played in Wembley FA and League Cup finals for Boro and served as Aitor Karanka's assistant until December last year.

And he is as excited as anyone about seeing his adopted club returning to the capital on Monday.

"I've got my tickets and I'm going as a fan, and I'm excited about it," said Hignett, who scored 48 goals in 196 games for Boro.

"It's a great opportunity for the club. We have beaten them (Norwich) twice this season, so we shouldn't fear anything about them.

"But look, you look at their side and they are full of Premier League players and they are the most dif-ficult side we could have faced in the play-offs.

"You can't be too confi-dent but I'm sure Aitor will have prepared the players well.

"The two games against them this season were very different, we really had to grind it out and defend well at their place.

"They struggled to break us down and ran out of ideas in the end."

The fitness of Championship Player of the Year Patrick Bamford is one selection worry for Aitor Karanka, but Hignett thinks the rest of the team "pretty much picks itself ".

"There has been a question at right back since Tomas Kalas's loan ended, but Dean (Whitehead) is a good professional and he's filled in well," he continued.

"You would hope Bamford would be fit after the season he's had, but Kike scored the other night and played well and his confi-dence will be sky high."

Hignett became a Wembley regular at Boro - and also knows what it's like to be involved in a play-off final.

"The occasion will be the thing that might catch a few players out," he continued.

"Boro have some players that have played in big games, but Norwich were a Premier League side last year.

"I've played at the old Wembley and the scale of it can get to some people.

"The play-offs are a different type of game to a cup final, there's a lot riding on it.

"I've played in one for Barnsley, against Mogga at Ipswich actually, and we lost 4-2. I got both goals but I was crushed afterwards."


Craig |Hignett played for Boro and was assistant manager - now he's taking the role of supporter when the team heads to Wembley on Monday

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 22, 2015
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