ASIDE from four-goal maulings against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United, a gut-wrenching late loss against Birmingham City probably represents the toughest moment of Jonathan Woodgate’s time in charge of Middlesbrough.
A painful 2-1 televised loss at St Andrew’s in early October, with the hosts netting an 89th-minute winner just two minutes after Daniel Ayala levelled, set the tone for a tough mid to late autumn.
For Woodgate, the chance of redemption arrives this evening as his Boro side set their sights on a strong response after their unbeaten mid-winter league run came to an end at Fulham
On the task for Boro, who have not suffered a home reverse since a 1-0 loss to West Brom on October 19, Woodgate said: “Our run had to come to an end somehow and at some time.
“But we have a chance now to beat Birmingham. It is another big game for us and we have been doing okay at home and hopefully that will continue.
They have been inconsistent, a bit like us. But they have some real good players and played really well against us down there and were the better team by a mile. We really owe them one.
“We have got a few home games coming up. Birmingham are a good side and with (Lukas) Jutkiewicz up front, anything can happen. We need to be on our A-game.”
Woodgate expects Britt Assombalonga, who returned to training on Sunday, to be back in the fray for the home game with Tony Mowbray’s Blackburn Rovers on February 1.
New keeper Dejan Stojankovic could be in Boro’s squad this evening.
Last six games: Middlesbrough WWDDLL; Birmingham DLLWWD.
Referee: A Woolmer (Northants).
Last time: Middlesbrough 1 Birmingham 0, August 11, 2018; Championship.