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Jan 9, 2016 at 3pm UK at Riverside Stadium
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George Friend: 'Middlesbrough can go far in FA Cup'

Middlesbrough defender George Friend sees no reason why his side cannot go far in the FA Cup this season.

Middlesbrough defender George Friend has claimed that his side have the ability to go far in the FA Cup this season.

Boro have a decent record in cup competitions over the last 12 years, reaching one semi-final and six quarter-finals, in addition to the 2005-06 UEFA Cup final, since lifting the League Cup in 2004.

The club have already beaten Manchester United on their way to the League Cup quarter-final this season, while last term they knocked Manchester City out of the FA Cup before losing to eventual winners Arsenal.

Aitor Karanka's in-form side get their FA Cup campaign underway at home to fellow Championship side Burnley on Saturday, and Friend sees no reason why they cannot reach the latter stages once again.

"You've got to beat what's in front of you and earn the right to get that fixture that you want in the next round. When you see the fixture come out you do hope it's a Premier League team or someone lower down," Friend told BBC Tees.

"We've gone quite far in the League Cup so why not the FA Cup as well? It seems like an easy opportunity to get a better draw. It would have been nice to have gone straight into a league game with everyone high on confidence but the FA Cup is a special tournament and it's a competition in which we can go far.

"There's something special about the FA Cup and for the foreign boys coming in, they don't know a lot about it. They've really savoured the opportunity to go into these great grounds and play lower teams to get a flavour of English football."

Middlesbrough have reached the FA Cup final just once before, losing the 1996-97 showpiece to Chelsea at Wembley.

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Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka during the Capital One Cup First Round match between Oldham Athletic and Middlesbrough at Boundary Park on August 12, 2014
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21131246
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
AustraliaAustralia1031427
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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