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Press article:

North East No.1 Crown at Stake - 01/11/2002

North East No.1 Crown at Stake
I'll have another one these
   Newcastle United

Nolberto Solano today relished Monday night's visit of Middlesbrough - insisting Newcastle United do not want to lose their mantle as the North East's No 1. United beat Boro home and away last season and were unbeaten against Sunderland. And, having beaten the Wearsiders early in the campaign, Steve McClaren's Middlesbrough provide the next derby opposition, with Monday's St James's Park clash to be broadcast live on TV.

Boro are currently sixth in the Premiership following an impressive start to the campaign but a win for the Magpies would see them overtake the Teessiders in the table. And Solano is determined that United make it four home wins out of four following victories over Juventus, Charlton Athletic and Dynamo Kiev during this hectic period of 15 days at St James's. But he recognises that McClaren has transformed the side which has struggled in recent Premiership seasons. "We are now back to the Premier League after beating Dynamo Kiev," said Solano. "And we have to beat Middlesbrough on Monday. "We have to take the three points because we need to finish well in the league like last season. "We've been able to take a little bit of a break after a hectic few days and we will all be ready for Middlesbrough. "They are a different side to the one of two seasons ago. They have a very good manager and have bought very good players. "But we are very good ourselves. We want to be the best team in the North East, it's very special for the fans. I hope we can win all of these five home games." Solano was taken off against Kiev on Tuesday night as a precaution after a Dynamo player caught his ankle. He had passed a late fitness test for the Champions' League clash despite picking up a injury on his other ankle against Charlton. But he insisted he would be fit and ready for a return to Premiership action. Solano said: "My ankle's fine. I will be able to play against Middlesbrough. I was only taken off as a precaution."

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