MIDDLESBROUGH goalkeeper Jason Steele says that the FA Cup can provide a boost to the side.
Boro’s late winner against Aldershot last Saturday saw them progress to the fifth round of the tournament where a home tie with the winner of Chelsea-Brentford await the Teessider’s.
Sixth-placed Boro’s Cup run is in contrast to their league form – three defeats in as many league outings – but keeper Steele does not sight reason to be concerned.
“It’s starting to do my head in now,” he said when pressed on the issue.
“We’re three points away from second-place, so anyone who says we’re having a slump I’d disagree with.
“We’re still right in the hunt and if we win a couple of games we’re right back in with a chance of going up automatically.”
Boro travel to East Anglia tomorrow for their away game with Ipswich, who are just outside of the relegation zone – the game, on paper at least, winnable for Tony Mowbray’s men.
Steele believes that last Saturday’s 2-1 win against League Two Aldershot could spark an upturn in fortunes.
He said: “In my opinion I think the FA Cup run can help, it’s such a special competition for me personally, and for quite a lot of the British players.
“But if you go on a cup run and your league form suffers, then it can also be seen as a hindrance.
“Hopefully it can help us get back to winning ways, because we have lost a few in the league recently, and winning on Saturday will hopefully give us that kick we need.
“The result was the only thing that mattered on Saturday.
“Performance-wise it wasn’t great, but we’re in the next round and looking forward to playing either Chelsea or Brentford now.”
Boro’s fifth round FA Cup game with either Chelsea or Brentford will take place on Wednesday, February 27.