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Mowbray refusing to get carried away with decent form
AFTER moving up to third in the Championship for the first time this season, Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray last night insisted he will not be getting carried away – yet.
Boro's third successive victory arrived in the shape of a 2-0 win over Hull City at the Riverside Stadium ahead of another home date against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
If Middlesbrough can claim a fifth home win of the season this weekend then Mowbray could be the manager of the team sitting at the top of the Championship.
But with just three points separating them from ninth placed Hull the Teessiders are keen to keep focused on delivering game by game rather than what they might achieve long term.
Mowbray said: “It is really about accumulating points, wherever we are doesn’t matter, although the players can look at the league table and get a boost. But until Christmas and New Year you have to be up there to compete.
“It is when final placings are handed out that matters. We are trying to win matches and we have another three points.
“We got the goal, got a second and as they over gambled we could have got a third. It was great to follow up Brighton last Saturday (1-0) with another victory. We have to try to make this place as difficult for any side to come. I have always said we have to give ourselves an opportunity. We will get stronger. Hopefully we will get it right more than we get it wrong.”
Middlesbrough took the lead in the 59th minute when Faris Haroun showed his composure to round Hull goalkeeper Ben Amos and find the net for the first time since the win at Cardiff last December.
And then seven minutes later striker Ishmael Miller, on loan from Nottingham Forest, pounced to grab his first for the club - and first goal since October 2 last year.
When the 25-year-old was substituted 11 minutes from time the bench showed their relief by congratulating him one by one in the hope it leads to more after an injury-ravaged 12 months.
Mowbray said: “Ish had a great chance at the weekend at Brighton but was denied by a great save and the same happened tonight before he scored. All strikers need to score goals to give them confidence.
“Eventually he got there and that will give him a lot of confidence. I was pleased with his general performance and physically he gave them problems.”
Now Middlesbrough can focus on the visit of Bolton, knowing the Trotters should be lifted by yesterday's new managerial appointment in the shape of Dougie Freedman.
“Bolton will be tough and it looks like they have a new manager, they came down from the Premier League and it will be a very tough game,” said Mowbray. “Bolton's players will be trying to make sure they make the right impression under him.”
Last night's victory was watched by Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill ahead of next Tuesday's trip to the Stadium of Light in the Capital One Cup fourth round.
“I am pretty sure Martin knows we have Premier League quality, he will have seen that last year when we played in the FA Cup,” said Mowbray. “Hopefully we have a threat in behind them and cause them problems.
“It will be a tough game, a derby, away at Sunderland in front of a partisan crowd, we will go away and give it our best shot after two away wins on the bounce.”
Whether skipper Jonathan Woodgate will face the Black Cats remains to be seen. Having been rested for last night's visit of Hull, though, he is ready to come back in against Bolton.
“Jonathan hasn't got an injury, he is fine, he will be OK for the weekend,” said the Middlesbrough boss. “Seb Hines came in and looked like he had never been away. That's the beauty of having good, honest players. The fact that they can all come in and do a job was further highlighted tonight.”