A FOOTBALL manager has given his backing to X Factor finalist James Arthur.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray said the singer’s success was “great for the area”.

He also revealed that James, a big Boro fan, has been exchanging tweets with some of the players.

Mr Mowbray said: “I watch it whenever I can. We had Amelia Lily last year and it is great that it has been carried on this year by James Arthur.

“He is showing his talent and his quality. I think from very early on he had a rawness about the way he sings that is a bit different from what you normally get. There is a potential niche there for him to bring that to the market place.”

James’ sister, Sian, 25, described how she felt when her brother, 24, came home to perform at a packed Middlesbrough Town Hall on Tuesday night.

She said: “It was the most surreal moment ever. I can’t describe to you how proud and emotional I felt when I saw how many people had turned up to support and cheer for my brother.

“The best moment of my life was seeing James get out of the car and walk down the red carpet.

“There were hundreds of people screaming and shouting his name. I have never been happier than I was then to see that smile on his face.

“X Factor has really turned his whole life around, upside down and stuck it in a blender.

“Just to see the confidence build in him and to hear him talking about his experiences over the past few weeks is amazing.

“James is taking it all in his stride now. He definitely thinks he can win.

“I am so excited for this weekend. All of his close family will be there watching with anticipation.”

The X Factor will be shown on ITV at 8pm tomorrow, with the results show from 7.40pm on Sunday.