Boro look for consistency
This weekend Middlesbrough will be looking to put an end to their run of four league games without a win when they host second placed Cardiff at the Riverside.
Tony Mowbray's side haven't picked up a league win since the beginning of last month when they won at Scunthorpe.
Since then Middlesbrough have picked up just one point in four league games and have only scored twice in that time. Leroy Lita and Scott McDonald both grabbed much needed goals in the 2-2 draw against Hull but failed to follow that up last weekend in the 1-0 defeat to Coventry.
The lack of goals this season has had a lot to do with why Boro are languishing second from bottom in the Championship. Mowbray will be fully aware that if he can get the talented strikers at his disposal to start performing then there is a great chance this side could start climbing the table.
Lita and McDonald started against Coventry but Kris Boyd will be hoping to earn a recall for the Cardiff game. The former Rangers striker has struggled since arriving at the Riverside in the summer, scoring just five goals in his 20 appearances for his new team, which is even more shocking given the football predictions suggested he would be the league's top scorer this season.
There had been whisperings that Boyd was keen on a return to Glasgow but Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist has played down the reports, admitting a lack of finances would make any deal impossible. The 27-year-old forward will be determined to prove himself in England but will have to start scoring regularly if he is to salvage his career south of the border.
With Marvin Emnes returning from his successful loan spell at Swansea, Mowbray has a strike-force that most other Championship clubs will look enviously on. It's up to the new manager to get the talented group to start fulfilling their potential if Boro are to save anything from this disappointing season and the Middlesbrough betting suggests they are still in with a chance of doing so.
Automatic promotion is probably out of the question for Boro, even if they go on a winning run. The tightness of the rest of the league will give Mowbray belief that the play-offs are still within reach but only if he can turn things around and start getting the home fans back on side.