Middlesbrough’s substitutes underline progress under Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder thinks the match-winning impact of his substitutes against Coventry highlights just how much progress Middlesbrough have made in a short space of time.

Wilder was satisfied with the way his side bounced back from defeat at Blackburn last Monday by recording a 1-0 victory over rivals for a play-off place.

Andraz Sporar’s eighth goal of the season proved the difference at the Riverside to lift Middlesbrough back into a play-off place.

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Slovenian Sporar, on loan from Sporting Lisbon, timed his run to perfection to get on the end of Folarin Balogun’s low delivery in the 58th minute.

Middlesbrough's Isaiah Jones (left) and Coventry City's Ian Maatsen (Picture: PA)

That was less than two minutes after Balogun, on loan from Arsenal, had been introduced along with Martin Payero in a bid to change the flow of the game, with Coventry pressing.

Wilder, whose side have lost one of their last nine, said: “We have talked long and hard about the depth off the bench and now we have game-changers in there. We have competition for places.

“I was delighted we had that opportunity to make those changes. We felt the time was right, we needed a spark from somewhere and got that from Flo.

“It is a good result. It wasn’t a stand-out performance from us, it wasn’t a Forest, Huddersfield or a Stoke performance that we have previously turned in, and you have to look at your own performance and we gave it away cheaply.

Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder is interviewed after the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside (Picture: PA)

“The result always is the focus and we would have liked our performance to be better. We have to get the mentality right now and we need the players to be brave.”

Middlesbrough: Lumley, Dijksteel, Fry, McNair, Jones, Crooks, Howson (Payero 57), Tavernier, Taylor, Sporar, Connolly (Balogun 56). Unused substitutes: Peltier, Watmore, Bamba, Daniels, Coburn.

Coventry City: Moore, Hyam, McFadzean, Clarke-Salter, Eccles, Allen (Hamer 64), Sheaf, Bidwell (Maatsen 77), O’Hare, Shipley (Waghorn 68), Gyokeres. Unused substitutes: Rose, Wilson, Da Costa, Howley.

Referee: M Donohue (Lancashire).