Middlesbrough v Fulham: Points on the board sought by Downing

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STEWART DOWNING has challenged Boro to go on another powerhouse run of victories.

Boro’s magnificent run of seven successive wins in all competitions was shot down in a 2-0 loss at Reading before the international break, although not too much damage was done with the Teessiders remaining second in the Championship – just two points behind leaders Brighton, who travel to Leeds United today.

After having two weeks to lick their wounds, Downing has implored Boro to come out firing against Fulham, who shattered the club’s automatic promotion hopes towards the end of last season with a fateful 4-3 victory at Craven Cottage – with former Boro target Ross McCormack striking a hat-trick.

Downing said: “We need to go on another run and start to pull away from teams and the manager has said we need to get as many points on the board as early as possible.

“We’re in a good position at the minute.

“Obviously, losing to Reading wasn’t great to go into an international break.

“But we have a lot of games coming up this month.”

While much of what Boro have touched has turned to gold this term, Downing, brought in for an initial £5.5m admits that there is more to come from him and the team.

The ex-England international said: “It’s been a bit up and down but I think once we hit top form and get everyone back fit and playing in a settled squad, we’ll be fine.

“But it’s gone quite well considering I don’t think we’ve hit top form yet.

“Keep the strikers fit and I think we’ve got a great chance.

“Some games we haven’t really played that well and we’ve still won.

“Then, in other games, we’ve played well and got a draw.”