Ross Turnbull will put sentiment to one side tonight - and has warned his teammates to be wary of manager-less Middlesbrough.
Bishop-Auckland born Turnbull admitted yesterday he was surprised and disappointed to see Tony Mowbray’s three-year Riverside Stadium reign come to an end on Monday night.
And while the former Boro academy product hopes Rovers can take advantage of the current instability on Teesside, he has also warned against a potential Boro backlash.
“Tony was a legend at Middlesbrough,” said Turnbull.
“I know the results haven’t been great there but I was disappointed to see him go.
“From what I’ve heard the lads there are a bit down about it.
“But when it comes to the game against us they might be thinking there’s a new manager in the stands watching and they’ll want to impress.
“What will the fans do? No one really knows. But it’s up to us as a team to keep them quiet, particularly early in the game.
“We can’t let them get a head of steam up and let the fans get behind them.
“We won’t really know [how their players will react] until the game starts. It’s been a difficult week for them but you just don’t know how teams will react.”
Turnbull is still highly regarded at Boro after graduating from the club’s renowned youth academy, and the 28-year-old is relishing the prospect of a Riverside return.
“I spent ten fantastic years at Boro,” he said. “It’s where I grew up and learned about the game so it’ll be a big occasion. I’m looking forward to it.
“Boro are always the first result I look for when I come off the pitch.
“It’s going to be a tough game. Hopefully we can go there and win and then they climb the table after the game on Friday.
“It’s surprising to see them struggling.
“But I’ve spoken to a few of the players there and they say that performance-wise, things haven’t been too bad.
“They just haven’t picked up the points. It’s a very difficult league. There’s been games we’ve played in which we could’ve picked up an extra point when we’ve lost, or we could have had three instead of one.
“I’m sure they’ll come good, it’s early days.
“You always see one or two teams have a slow start but then pick up and make a late run for the play-offs.”