Merris hoping to lead Boro into new era

Dave Merris in action last season
Dave Merris in action last season

Boro skipper Dave Merris would see it as the ultimate honour to lead the players out for the first game at the Flamingo Land Stadium.

Athletic entertain Championship side Sheffield United in the christening of their new base in front of what will be a sell-out crowd.

"I just can't wait, I'm really looking forward to getting out there," said the 36-year-old full-back.

"If I'm asked to lead the lads out as captain it would be a huge honour and a privilege.

"This game is going to be a sell-out, the atmosphere will be absolutely electric.

"Having played full-time football, you do miss games like this, I'm sure it will sound like there are 10,000 fans in the ground.

"We need to keep those fans for the whole season, by playing well and getting the results. Hopefully we'll get a good few hundred for every game once the season gets underway."

Having played at the McCain Stadium for both arch rivals York City and Harrogate Town, Merris is well aware what it is like to face up to a big Scarborough crowd.

He added: "They were just horrible, but I loved that.

"At the McCain Stadium the fans were breathing distance away from you, they were shouting and giving you grief for the full 90 minutes.

"It was a place you knew you'd be in for a game and also an experience.

"We need to use these supporters for our benefit because it might be hard for younger, unexperienced lads to deal with.

"They can be a 12th man to us as well because it does make a massive difference when you are on the pitch.

"I've played in front of one man and a dog and it can be difficult to motivate yourself, but when you have a load of noisy fans with your back, then it really spurs you on."

Merris is expecting big things from Boro this season, as the club look to go one better in the Evo-Stik North and book promotion.

"We met our expectations last season and reached the play-offs, but sadly we missed out.

"The Play-offs now have to be the minimum this season, though it won't be easy because there are some very good teams in the league.

"Since I've been at the club things have really turned around, we've gone from struggling to being one of the teams at the top.

"That is all down to consistency, the results came because we put out a stable 11 week in week out.

"To add to that this season there is a lot of competition for places, so the signs are very good."