Birmingham City v Middlesbrough FC: Catch-up game could shape end to Teessiders' season, says Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick says the result of Middlesbrough's game at Birmingham City could have a big impact on how they finish the season but whatever comes their way, he is proud of the character he has in the dressing room.

With the hosts kicking off their game in hand only a point above Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday, who make up an all-Yorkshire relegation zone, Tuesday's game has more bearing on the wrong end of the table.

But consecutive victories last week have got Boro looking up at the final play-off place occupied by Hull City, eight points ahead from one extra game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As Hull are not playing this week, Boro could cut that to two by beating Birmingham, then struggling Blackburn Rovers on Saturday before an international break which runs until Easter.

PRIDE: Middlesbrough manager Michael CarrickPRIDE: Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick
PRIDE: Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick

“Yeah, it’s that time of year really," commented Carrick. "A little cluster of results can determine your season either way. We’ve gone through it over recent weeks where it was a kind of negative impact, if you like, but certainly this like week or so has been really positive.

"This is now an important game for us, catching up because it’s our game in hand. In the end, it could prove to have a big impact in what we do moving forward.

"Irrespective of who you play against, what kind of form they're in – at both ends of the scale, really – it can flip so quickly.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"The two teams we played against had been on fantastic runs but we end up picking up results after a sticky run. We’re now looking to build on that and momentum is important.

"Finishing (the season) well is in some ways better than starting well, but we’ve got to focus on what’s in front of us and the games coming up. We’ll try and build on what we’ve started over the last week.

“We’re still a long way off and we don’t want to get too carried away. There’s a lot to play for and a lot that could go either way.

"It’s a big one and another big one on Saturday before we have a bit of a breather, and we’re not looking any further than that right now really. Once that comes, we’ll see where we are.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We’ve got Southampton after that (on Good Friday) and then Sheffield Wednesday (Easter Monday). The games come thick and fast after the break again. But for these next two games, it’s all we’re focused on and then we’ll see where we are."

The wins against Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers ended a run of one win in eight matches for the Teessiders, but Carrick was impressed with the way his players handled adversity.

“You see when it’s a bit of a struggle the true colours," he said. "The character of the boys could never be faulted, as I’ve said previously.

"Even when it was a bit stickier and the results weren’t coming, I was just hoping the boys would start getting their rewards because their intentions were always fantastic. They kept coming in, working hard and showing their determination to do well.

"Hopefully we can now use the momentum we’ve gained in the last week and build on that."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.