Tony Mowbray’s Middlesbrough face Crystal Palace at home today knowing that defeat will leave them anchored at the bottom of The Championship.
Last week’s home defeat from Bristol City, after Kris Boyd had opened the scoring, saw ‘Boro slip into bottom place alongside Palace with only goal difference seperating the sides.
Worrying for ‘Boro fans their new manager is concentrating on the quality of his side’s performance rather than the sometimes grubby business of winning matches- even winning ugly.
“I’m confident we’ll be better than we were last week,” Mowbray claimed. “Certainly if we can produce 20 shots again then let’s hope we can score more than one goal because if we do that then we should win games.
“We’ve got to get some momentum going as soon as possible but I’m confident we’ll not be at the bottom when it gets towards the end of the season. I’m hopeful we’ll be looking up after Christmas but we have to start accumulating points.
“The sooner we can start moving up into the middle of the pack we can reassess how many points we need. So many teams have come from nowhere in the past and crept into a play-off position.”
Former Celts Scott McDonald and Stephen McManus will start today’s match with Barry Robson facing a late fitness test.
Despite selling Robson to ‘Broro in January Mowbray is full of praise for the midfielder’s contribution during their brief spell together at Celtic.
“Barry Robson was one of my best players at Celtic,” Mowbray added. “The contract situations being what they were, and the fact that Barry had an opportunity to move on, led to him leaving when he did.
“Barry is a trojan in the true sense of the word. We saw that against Bristol City. For me, the Scottish players are an essential part of this squad.
“Scott McDonald played regularly for me at Celtic and scored goals and he’s capable of doing the same thing in the Championship.
“He did well against Bristol City and he and Kris Boyd could have had a few goals between them.”