MIDDLESBROUGH’S vital statistics may have measured up for the most part in Championship circles this season, but there is one glaring area in need of improvement.
Boro are fifth in the table, but their form at the Riverside is modest by comparison with 14 other teams possessing better home statistics.
It is something that simply must improve if manager Tony Pulis’s side are to achieve the season’s aim of promotion, with back-to-back home matches with Brentford and Preston presenting a clear opportunity to start remedying those numbers.
Boro have won just seven out of 16 home matches this term and, while their concession of 10 goals is the best in the division, only Bolton (10) have scored fewer goals on home soil, with their tally of 17 goals being the second-worst in the division alongside Ipswich Town.
Pulis’s side face a Brentford side boasting just one league win on the road this term by comparison, with the London club having not won in nine Championship and play-off meetings with Boro.
Pulis is reading little into the form on the road of the Bees, rightfully viewed as one of the best footballing sides in the division when at their best.
Pulis said: “I am not a great believer in thinking, ‘We are going to win this one and we are not going to win that one and that is more difficult than that one.’
“I think you have to take it on merit and make the players understand that every game they play is going to be a tough game and they are going to have to be on it to get the result.
“I know Brentford will not be easy and the players know it will not be. They are a good side and a very, very good football team with one, two or maybe three outstanding players – and I mean outstanding ones.”