Boro Or Toon - Who Will Be Amongst The Piranhas Next Season?

Last updated : 11 May 2009 By Boro Mad
Luke Edwards: There are many things Newcastle United and Middlesbrough have lacked over the course of this torturous campaign, but confidence has caused more damage than anything else in recent weeks.

A lack of ability explains why both clubs have been gasping for breath in the relegation zone in the first place, like a fish left to die slowly on the floor of a fishing boat.

Yet, it is a lack of certainty, mettle and fortitude which ensures neither side have been able to claw themselves out of trouble with just three fraught games left to play.

On Monday night at St James's Park, one will have the opportunity to launch one final push for survival at the expense of the other.

Whoever wins will live to fight another day, whoever loses will have to fortify themselves for a season of Championship football and life back in a small pond full of piranhas thrilled to have the chance to tear at the relegated carcass.

At home, in front of their own supporters, Newcastle should have a crucial advantage. They have shown character and fighting spirit under Alan Shearer, which should give them an edge, but the mood on Tyneside is becoming as black as the stripes on the team's shirt.

The Magpies have won just four home games in the league all season and have persistently failed to win the must-win games which have come their way. They have also scored just once and picked up two points from Shearer's five matches in charge.

Boro, though, have won just two away games and scored just nine goals on their travels.