Jonathan Woodgate will have breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle of Middlesbrough’s 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic.
The Teessiders took the lead inside the first minute as George Saville slotted home from close range after a scuffed effort from Britt Assombalonga.
That result moved Middlesbrough four points clear of the relegation zone and will have done wonders for confidence in the camp as they look to build some momentum going into the festive period.
There’s some tricky fixtures on the horizon for Woodgate’s side and he’ll certainly have learned a thing or two from the win over Lee Bowyer’s side.
Here’s a look at some of the learnings from the weekend.
Djed Spence could save Middlesbrough a lot of money
He was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI, but the 19-year-old certainly justified his selection.
Spence looked solid defensively, while also providing pace and trickery going forward which caused Charlton a lot of problems at the Riverside.
Anfernee Dijksteel and Ryan Shotton’s injuries meant adding a full-back could have been near the top of Jonathan Woodgate’s shopping list in January, but if the youngster can follow up his display in the coming weeks then it will save the Teessiders a lot of hassle in the transfermarket.
A case for Adam Clayton’s involvement
The 29-year-old was handed a start for the first time in 10 fixtures against Charlton.
Despite the plethora of injuries in the Middlesbrough squad, Clayton has fallen out of favour under Jonathan Woodgate meaning that he could be a player who attracts interest in the January window.
Clayton has valuable experience to offer, and after showing his quality against the Addicks he will perhaps be given a more central role moving forward.
How much attention have you paid to Middlesbrough this season? Let’s find out!
Marcus Tavernier coming of age
Few players came away from the 1-0 victory with more credit that Marcus Tavernier.
The 20-year-old has blown hot and cold at times this season, but his display against Charlton was certainly decisive in Middlesbrough getting a result.
Inconsistency is part and parcel of playing young players, but after seeing what the midfielder is capable of supporters will be hoping to see much more from Tavernier in the coming weeks.