Mowbray sets sights on Wembley triumph

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MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray is determined that he and his Boro players will not be consumed by the bout of negativity which has followed in the wake of the Teessiders’ horrendous New Year streak.

Boro, who have displayed relegation form in winning just twice in their past 12 Championship outings, losing nine along the way, are in serious danger of freefall and despite Mowbray’s heroic reputation among many Boro supporters following his playing days at the old Ayresome Park, that has not stopped some seriously questioning him for the first time in his managerial tenure.

The Teessider has been troubled by Boro’s horrendous run with his side having fallen away from the automatic promotion places for the second season running.

But ninth-placed Boro still have a shout for a top-six place and are just three points adrift of sixth-placed Nottingham Forest, despite losing 17 games. That is perhaps down to the inconsistent nature of the Champonship more than anything else.

Mowbray, whose side host Birmingham City and must still play play-off contenders Forest and Brighton at home before the season’s end, said: “With the potential of being level on points with sixth place, it is all there still to play for.

“The run we have been on has created a bit of negativity, disappointment, frustration, and yet if you are one of those teams on the same points as us, the likes of Bolton, Forest and Brighton, I am sure the feeling around their clubs will be positive.

“We have to make sure that negativity does not engulf us. We have a fantastic opportunity and we have got a nine-game season to go where we have to win enough football matches to ensure we finish in the top six.

“The positive is that we have got Nottingham Forest and Brighton to play at home with Bolton away. They are crucial games, important games, and, hopefully, at the end of it we will find ourselves in the top six.

“Having achieved it once myself (with Ipswich), I would say the best way to get promotion is to go to Wembley with 35-40,000 supporters behind you, win and come home a Premier League club. That has got to be our target for the end of the season.”