If 'Boro reverse away trend then promotion could be theirs

Middlesbrough FC Crest

Middlesbrough remain in automatic promotion contention after a sixth straight home win over Wolves on Tuesday night, now they must address their away form.

Since the shock 1-0 home defeat to Leeds on February 21st 'Boro have been imperious at the Riverside, but they can't rely on their home form alone, with the race for automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship involving four serious candidates.

Aitor Karanka's men beat Wolves 2-1 on Tuesday night through goals from Jelle Vossen and Patrick Bamford, but 'Boro have just one home game remaining at the Riverside - the last day visit of Brighton - and so they need to pick up their recent away form if they are to join one of Bournemouth, Norwich or Watford in the top two spots.

All of 'Boro's four defeats since that home reverse to Leeds have been away from home. The Teessiders have lost on their travels to Sheffield Wednesday (2-0), Nottingham Forest (2-1), Bournemouth (3-0) and Watford (2-0). Karanka will be most concerned that three of those defeats were against promotion rivals, although Forest have since disappeared from the top six race.

The only result to reverse this trend is the 1-0 win at the iPro Stadium against Derby, which seemed a pivotal win at the time as Middlesbrough heaped misery on the Rams who were in the middle of a faltering run of form which has forced them away from the automatic places.

Karanka's men's away form against the top clubs is all the more pertinent as they face in-form Norwich at Carrow Road this coming Saturday. With just four points separating the top four clubs - which will be reduced if Watford draw or win at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night - Middlesbrough cannot afford to drop points against their nearest rivals if they are to avoid the dreaded play-offs. 

With Norwich winning 12 of their last 15 games, and having lost only once at home in 2015, the form book suggests Alex Neil's men will be favourites to take maximum points.

But in a promotion race that has twists and turns every single week, Middlesbrough have an opportunity to finally prove they have Premier League credentials.   

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch