Middlesbrough are currently in second place in the Championship table.
Higginbotham feels that Aitor Karanka has made Boro too concerned with defending, and that has led to them struggling against sides where they are required to play on the front foot.
Boro are still in the thick of a promotion fight, but Higginbotham wants them to build on their latest performance against Queens Park Rangers - where they won 3-2.
"Their biggest problem has been against the teams that are lower down the table like Rotherham and Charlton. Aitor Karanka wants to be defensively strong but you look at the players they have going forward like Downing, Stuani, Rhodes and Nugent, they are so impressive,” the former Stoke City defender said.
"I think he should allow them to play with a bit more freedom. We saw that against QPR when they got three goals and there was a point in the second half where they looked untouchable and absolutely fantastic.
"It will be interesting to see how they go because they haven't got much experience of getting promoted. We saw what happened last season (when they lost in the play-off final), but no doubt if they can keep things going like they did against QPR they will be up there because of the players they have in the team.”
Middlesbrough are currently in second place, and they also have a game in hand over many of their promotion rivals.
The North East side seem to have arrested a poor run of results to climb back into automatic promotion contention.
Boro have scored the fewest amount of goals of any side in the top six, though, so Higginbotham may have a point about them needing to make more of an impact in the final third.
Middlesbrough’s next match comes against Huddersfield Town at the Riverside Stadium later this evening, and if they are able to win they could move to the top of the Championship table.