NICKY Bailey arrived at Middlesbrough last summer dubbed as a goalscoring midfielder, WRITES CRAIG HOPE.
He had a strike rate of better than one in four for Charlton Athletic and that persuaded then Boro boss Gordon Strachan to shell out £1.4m on the Cockney schemer.
But Bailey failed to find the back of the net during his maiden campaign on Teesside and only on Saturday did he break that duck during the 2-0 win at Burnley.
In mitigation, the 27-year-old has been used in the midfield anchor role this year, but nonetheless he hopes he won’t have to wait another 40 games for his next Boro goal.
“It was nice to finally score a goal for the club and get a good three points at the end of it. I’ve been telling the gaffer I’m a goalscoring midfielder, not a defensive midfielder.
“But he’s put me in a position to do a job and I’m just happy to be playing.
“Obviously now I’m off the mark and hopefully I can get a few more.”
Bailey’s strike, a 20-yard drive, set Boro on their way to a victory which lifts them to third in the Championship table.
And the Boro ace added: “It was a really hard place to go so I’m delighted my goal helped us get the win.
“It seemed like the goal took about 20 seconds to go in once it left my foot but it was great to see it go in.
“After the disappointment of conceding a late equaliser in the last game we’ve done well to bounce back.
“But we can’t get carried away. We’ve got to keep working hard and hopefully we’ll get our just rewards at the end of it.
“Last season wasn’t great from anyone’s point of view but we’re doing great this year and long may it continue.”
Boro will this evening learn the identity of their Carling Cup third-round opponents when Crystal Palace take on Wigan Athletic at Selhurst Park in the second round – the winners will entertain Tony Mowbray’s men in the next stage.