Middlesbrough v Birmingham: Boro are urged to strut way to season’s close

Craig Hignett.
Craig Hignett.
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ASSISTANT manager Craig Hignett has challenged Middlesbrough to end a difficult season with a swagger, starting with a third consecutive league win for just the second time this term.

Boro have vanquished any lingering fears of trouble towards the foot of the table after impressively taking the scalps of Brighton and Derby County.

After spending long spells of 2013-14 looking over their shoulders, the Teessiders’ sights are set in the other direction.

Hignett said: “We’ve had two really good performances and two excellent victories. But we want to improve game-by-game and we’re looking to go on a run.

“We can’t be complacent – we want to finish on a high and win as many games as we can. Beating two teams who are really pushing is a real shot in the arm.”

Providing the case for the defence, former Riverside favourite Hignett, who has seen Boro lose just once in seven games since his return to the club, added: “We were playing well (before wins) but couldn’t quite get over the line in games.

“I think it’s 14 clean sheets in the last 20 games and if you’re keeping clean sheets you’ve got every chance of winning games, and if you can get the other side right then you’ll be in with a shout.”

Tomas Mejias is fit again after recovering from a dislocated finger; Jonathan Woodgate and Daniel Ayala are still out.

Last six games: Middlesbrough DDLDWW Birmingham DLLWLW.

Last time: Middlesbrough 0 Birmingham 1; March 16, 2013; Championship.

Referee: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).