Date: 29th April 2016 at 11:53am
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As we make our way to St. Andrew`s tonight, we`ll reflect on a season filled with ‘what ifs` but one of progression nonetheless. Despite sitting on 61 points, two short of last season`s total, Blues haven`t been out of the top ten for the entirety of the campaign which can be classed as progress in itself.


CURRENT FORM

Gary Rowett will be keen to send the fans off in good spirits after a recent poor run of form at home. Blues have picked up only two points from their last five outings at St. Andrew`s – including one win in their last ten Championship fixtures.

Recent form has soured what has been a positive season overall. Blues are looking up once again and have fought off their expected flirtations with relegation.

Middlesbrough arrive in Birmingham having won all ten of their Friday evening fixtures. The Teesiders are unbeaten in their last eight outings but have drawn the last two – making this game at St. Andrew`s a must win.

Boro sit in between, but on the same points as, Burnley (1st) and Brighton (3rd). They face a massive crunch six pointer against Brighton next weekend.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MIDDLESBROUGH

Aitor Karanka`s men boast the Championship`s tightest defence. They have shipped only 28 goals this season, five less than Hull, the next best. Goal scoring has been their Achilles heel. Boro have found the net 60 times, the least out of all of the top six teams. Their top scorer, Christian Stuani, has netted 10.

However, Boro carry some fantastic quality. Jordan Rhodes, Adam Clayton, Albert Adomah and Gastron Ramirez are three of the division`s top players. And in Stewart Downing, Grant Leadbitter, David Nugent and Ritchie De Laet, they have some proven, experienced performers.

A LAP OF APPRECIATION?

The Blues players will return to the field after tonight`s game for a lap of appreciation. And despite missing out on the play-offs (something we did not expect to be anywhere near at the start of the season) the players deserve our thanks.

Blues may not be a team who pass opponents off the park, they may not be a team that will blow their opposition away, but the effort, heart and pride has been there in abundance week in week out. And don`t forget, we`ve been treated to some memorable performances along the way too.

THOUGHTS FROM VITAL BORO

With only two games remaining in the 2015-16 season, Middlesbrough are level on points with both Burnley and Brighton, but we sit in second place based on goal difference.

The top three battle has already seen plenty of twists and turns and no doubt there will be a few more before the end of the season, but whilst the Championship title battle isn’t necessarily in our hands, the automatic spot certainly because we can stop Brighton from getting a maximum six from six when we face them on the last day of the season

(via middlesbrough.vitalfootball.co.uk)

 
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