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Consistency is the key in Championship, says Steele
JASON STEELE believes that consistency is the key to gaining success in the Championship this season – but argues that the testing schedule means that is not always possible.
The Middlesbrough goalkeeper has played in every minute of all 12 games this season – including a run of four games in ten days last month – and admitted that putting a decent run together is a challenge in itself.
With the Championship notoriously tight, a run of wins can propel a team from bottom half to top six inside a fortnight, and Steele hopes that his side can keep chipping out results to at least stay in contention.
“You’re never going to be on it every week,” said Steele, after helping his side to a 2-1 win at Watford over the weekend, four days on from a frustrating 2-2 draw against Derby last week.
“The league is really demanding, playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday a lot of weeks. There’s a lot of lads that need a rest, it takes a hell of a lot out of you.
“It was a big positive that we managed to come away from Watford with three points and we’re looking up instead of looking down.
“You’ve got to be there or thereabouts all season unless you do a Reading from last year, but you don’t want to have to do that. You want to stay consistent all season and that’s our aim.
“A lot of credit has got to go to the lads. We hadn’t played well last week and to get four points at the end of a tough week was probably more than we deserved, but we’ll take it.”
Steele is expected to be on the bench for England under- 21s when Stuart Pearce’s side play Serbia on Friday in a European Championship playoff at Carrow Road, before returning to Rockliffe Park to prepare for Middlesbrough’s next game, at Brighton and Hove Albion next Saturday.
Steele believes that Boro will take confidence from their success at Vicarage Road.
“The result was massive. We went away happy,” he said.
“We’ve got a few injuries and hopefully some of those will be back by the time we go to Brighton.
“We had played better than that and lost games this season.
To come away with the three points, we were very happy and we move on to the next.”
Scott McDonald scored the winner against the Hornets after spending the previous nine games on the sidelines, and Steele wasn’t surprised that the Australian came up with the goods.
“To be fair to Scott he’s never off the treadmill when he hasn’t played. He’s kept himself fit and that’s a credit to his professionalism and himself,” said Steele.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s been going on, but it seems as if Scott is back in the fold and if he’s scoring goals I don’t care what goes on.”