Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
McDonald - Promotion more important to me than goals
MIDDLESBROUGH striker Scott McDonald is desperate to finish as the club's top corer this season, but insists securing promotion is more important than personal accolades.
McDonald is ahead in the scoring charts with 11 goals in 22 appearances, despite barely featuring in the first two months of the season.
The Australian has been struggling with a back injury since the New Year's Day defeat at Derby County, but an injection to his troublesome back seems to have cleared the problem up.
McDonald hopes he will be fit to return to the squad for Saturday's trip to Ipswich Town and is keen to get back on the goal trail with Lukas Jutkiewicz chasing him in the goal charts.
"That's good for competition," McDonald said. "We both want to finish top scorer and hopefully it will push us on to get more and more goals.
"I haven't been right since the start of January. I picked up a knock at Derby.
"I've been struggling through it quietly but I've not been 100 per cent. Hopefully that's behind me now. I managed to get an injection last week and it seems to have helped with the sciatica in my back. It's calmed down and at the moment it seems okay so hopefully I will be back this Saturday.
"You don't want to miss any games. No disrespect to Aldershot, you look at the goals you could score in that game. There's always chances and goals to be had.
"I'm just looking forward to getting back out on the pitch and if the chance comes my way hopefully I will take them. I missed a few against Leicester so it's important whoever plays this Saturday that we take our chances."
McDonald's return to first-team duties coincided with Boro's best run this season and having already reached double figures the striker revealed he is targeting a 20-goal tally come May.
However, having been part of two squads that have failed to win promotion back to the Premier League, the 29-year-old accepts achieving that is what matters most to him.
He said: "My target is to score in the next game, then score in the next game and so on and then we'll see how many I've got at the end of the season. If I can do that then I will have more than 20 and that will keep me happy.
"I suppose I wouldn't have thought about being top scorer a few months ago but things can turn around very quickly and soon as I get on the pitch there's only one thing on my mind - and that's to score goals.
"I want to finish top scorer. Ultimately, though, even if I wasn't to finish top scorer I want to get promoted. That means everything to me and to the team.
"Fair play if Lukas scores 20 and I score 18 and we get promoted, I couldn't care less."
McDonald visited one of Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation's Sports Leaders Award courses yesterday, where he watched youngsters lead their own training drills before taking part in a question and answer session.
The course, funded by the Prince's Trust, gives young people who have come from difficult backgrounds, the chance to gain a qualification and to improve their skills.
The theme of the session was Communication in Sport, something McDonald admits he is still working on now.
He said: "It's good to volunteer to do things like this and work out in the community. It shows the club are trying to help the community and I've really enjoyed it.
"It's been really good to help them. We've talked about communication and how it helps in football, but it's important to get across it's also important in everyday life. They did a really good job today and I really enjoyed it.
"In football people don't really see outside a round ball at times but there's a lot of other things that go on within a football club and it's about how players communicate with each other and how you behave in the environment.
"I don't know if I'm always the best role model for communication, especially on the football pitch. I'm still learning and it's a progress but for these kids it's important to know that everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes and it's important that you learn from them."
More Middlesbrough FC News