HAVING rid themselves of a thoroughly unwanted sequence at the weekend, Middlesbrough have quickly turned their attentions to a vital statistic of a more positive sort.
The relief was palpable on Teesside when Danny Graham ended Boro’s embarrassing goal drought which had lasted over 12 hours in netting their opener in the much-needed home victory over Ipswich Town on Saturday.
Graham’s double blast represented the first time that Boro had found the net in eight games since their 1-0 win over Charlton on January 18.
At the other end of the field, the Teesside club have been busy clocking up far more impressive milestones, with the clean sheet against Ipswich taking their run without conceding a goal at home to seven matches.
All told, Boro have let in just one goal in Aitor Karanka’s nine home games in charge and none from open play at the Riverside for 823 minutes.
If they record another shut-out against Forest tonight, they will equal the club record of eight successive home clean sheets, which was last achieved 27 years ago under Bruce Rioch.
Boro must again make do without veteran defender Jonathan Woodgate (calf), with Dimi Konstantopoulos continuing to deputise in goal for recent signing Tomas Meijas, who has dislocated a finger. Also sidelined are Seb Hines (thigh), Daniel Ayala (ankle) and Rhys Williams (Achilles).
Last six games: Middlesbrough DDLDLW, Nottingham Forest WLDLLL.
Last time: Middlesbrough 1 Nottingham Forest 0; April 16, 2013; Championship.
Referee: I Williamson (Berkshire).