Skipper Grant Leadbitter says the Riverside crowd will have a huge part to play during Sunday's clash with Manchester United.
 
A native of the north east, the Boro captain says the fans in this part of the world are simply the best.
 
"The fans are a passionate bunch in this part of the world - I've known that all my life," he said.
 
"I call them real fans, they dig deep for the team. They'll be out in their numbers and they want to see three points for their team.
 
"With 11 games to go we have to win more to stay in this league, and as captain of the club I'm pressing that to the players."
 
Leadbitter found the net in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve, in a match that Boro ultimately lost 2-1. 
 
"It was a big game for me - my first back after a long layout," he said.
 
"We have to stop looking back now - I'm sure this will be a really tough game against one of the best clubs in the world. They've got some talented boys in their team.
 
"We have to go out and show what we're all about.
 
"There are important games and tough games coming up. We'll relish the challenge ahead."