Sky Sports pundit Andy Hinchcliffe has admitted that Middlesbrough will need to find a way to score goals in their remaining league fixtures if they are to have any chance of sealing a place in the play-offs.
Since securing a 4-0 victory over Peterborough United earlier this month, Boro have failed to find the back of the net in their last four games in the Championship.
Whereas Chris Wilder’s did manage to pick up a draw in their recent meeting with AFC Bournemouth their progress in the second-tier has been stifled by defeats to Fulham, Hull City and Huddersfield Town.
Currently three points adrift of Sheffield United who occupy the final play-off spot, Middlesbrough will be determined to close this particular gap on Saturday by securing victory in their showdown with Swansea City.
However, when you consider that the Jacks have not tasted defeat in any of their last seven league games, Boro will need to be at their very best in order to have a chance of picking up a positive result in this clash.
Ahead of Middlesbrough’s trip to the Swansea.com Stadium, Hinchcliffe has offered an honest assessment on the club’s hopes of securing a top-six finish in the second-tier.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast, Hinchcliffe said: “It’s not who they’ve got to play Middlesbrough, it’s they need to again sort themselves out.
“The goals have dried up, that’s the major problem.
“But when Chris [Wilder] went there and the early results that they had, the way that they were playing, they were dynamic and energetic, everything looked nailed on for a play-off place.
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“But it just again shows that in the Championship if you’re slightly off it, if the goals dry up, any team can beat anyone in this league and that is the problem.
“You’ve got to be so consistent to finish in the top-six, more so this season than ever and that’s been the problem for Middlesbrough but they can still make it, as can many other teams but they need to start scoring goals quickly.”
Hinchcliffe’s comments are spot on as Middlesbrough will need to improve in an attacking sense in order to remain in contention for a top-six finish.
Andraz Sporar and Duncan Watmore have both failed to find the back of the net in their last four appearances for the club whilst Aaron Connolly and Folarin Balogun have only scored a combined total of five goals at this level since sealing loan moves to the Riverside Stadium.
As for Josh Coburn, he is still being deployed almost exclusively as a substitute in the Championship despite the fact that he is averaging a goal every 92 minutes at this level this season.
If one of these aforementioned attackers is able to step up to the mark between now and the end of the regular campaign, Middlesbrough could potentially force their way into the play-offs.