Yak still has eyes on Europe
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Yakub feels he and strike-partner Mark Viduka can still fire Middlesbrough into Europe.
Middlesbrough striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni feels he and strike-partner Mark Viduka can still fire the club into Europe.
The Nigerian bagged 19 goals last season and despite the struggles of the Teesside club he has plundered nine already.
With the FA Cup coming on Sunday, as Boro face Hull, Yakubu has one eye on reaching the final - having fallen at the semi-final stage last term.
"This is the cup to do well in this season. We have done well in the cups before and we want to get back into Europe next season," he said.
"There is a long way to go, but it is a break from the league and a chance to start another cup run.
"We did very well in the Christmas games. Seven points is good and now we can go to Hull very confident.
"Me and Mark Viduka understand each other, and that makes him a good player to play with.
"We both believe in ourselves and each other, and when we are together, we always feel we are capable of scoring goals.
"You don't always know when goals will come. Sometimes you play four or five games and don't score, then they suddenly come."
Viduka added his own praise for Yakubu: "He has scored some good goals recently and he is a big presence for us up front.
"He holds the ball up well, he scores goals and good penalties as well."
Viduka himself is still waiting to hear on his long-term future at the club.
"My contract talks have not started yet," said Viduka.
"There has been an approach to my agent about it, but that's about it.
"I would be happy to stay if the deal is right for me. I enjoy it here.
"I enjoy coming in to training every day to work with the players. I enjoy everything around the club. If everything works out then that will be good."
One man definitely looking to leave is Italian Massimo Maccarone - who is way down the pecking order under Gareth Southgate.
"I want to change and maybe come back to Italy," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I'm not perfect and, for sure, I haven't had my best performance - but I've never complained and I've always trained seriously.
"When I've played I gave my best always."