Middlesbrough FC defender Ryan Giles's message to former club and play-off opponents Coventry City

COVENTRY City were the story at the Riverside Stadium on Monday in the first instalment of what will now be a trilogy of games with Middesbrough.

By their high standards on home soil, Boro were pretty quiet in truth – while mindful that the key remaining fixture on Teesside in their season will be on May 17 and not Bank Holiday Monday on a day when Coventry’s season was on the line.

After the game, the cheers were reserved for the Sky Blues and their ecstatic supporters among the sell-out crowd and they justifiably celebrated clinching their Championship play-off place after a 1-1 draw.

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Boro left-back Ryan Giles, who spent a loan spell at Coventry in 2020-21, is delighted for his former club, who now lock horns with the Teessiders in a semi-final double header.

Middlesbrough defender Ryan Giles. Picture: Tony Johnson.Middlesbrough defender Ryan Giles. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Middlesbrough defender Ryan Giles. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The goodwill will end when battle recommences in Warwickshire, in the first leg of their semi on Sunday lunch-time.

Giles said: “I am delighted for them. I think they have had a fantastic season. They have got some really good individuals and you can see they are very well drilled as a team.

“Credit to them, but we have just got to focus on ourselves. I think we have got some fantastic players in our team and I know players that they will fear.”

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Giles, who made his return after missing the recent game with another of his former sides in Rotherham United, commented: “I had a slight problem with my back and it was a precaution more than anything and the gaffer didn't want to risk it (at Rotherham).

“I think it was probably the right idea with what's coming ahead. I was gutted to miss it as I'd probably played nearly every game this season. But I am back now and firing away. We have now got two really tough games against a really good team.”