Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis urges fans to sell out Riverside in play-off against Aston Villa

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has asked fans to sell out the Riverside stadium for their play-off match against Aston Villa.

Boro host Steve Bruce’s side in Saturday’s semi-final first leg, live on Sky Sports, before the return leg at Villa Park on Tuesday.

Pulis is confident his players will enjoy the occasion but admitted they “will need the backing of their fans at their home ground”.

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He said: “We still have a couple of thousand tickets to sell, they [Villa] have picked up on their allocation. We need the Riverside to be rocking tomorrow.

“We need everybody to turn up, we need every seat to be sold, to really make it a tremendous atmosphere. We have to give it our best shot. It’s over two games, not one. We have got to understand that.

“We have to be positive, the four teams in the play-offs will be. I think the important thing is, we stay focused and understand the challenge ahead and the players respond in the right manner.

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“That is to play the way we have been playing, play with no inhibitions and give it our best shot. We don’t want to come off the park feeling as though you have left anything behind, that is very important.”