Middlesbrough’s ex-West Ham star Stewart Downing urges caution

Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing, Grant Leadbitter and Ben Gibson celebrate the win at Old TRafford

Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing, Grant Leadbitter and Ben Gibson celebrate the win at Old TRafford

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Stewart Downing says Middlesbrough must “keep it going” as they attempt to maintain their iron-tight grip on the top spot.

Boro sit proudly in the Sky Bet Championship’s pole position, but a mere five points covers the top four positions.

They’re all difficult games, but we have a bit of momentum at the minute

STEWART DOWNING

Should Aitor Karanka’s side slip up at Blackburn on Saturday and fail against Sheffield Wednesday in the late Bank Holiday Monday kick-off, they could find themselves out of the automatic promotion spots.

“It feels very good to be top,” said Downing.“That’s the aim, to keep winning games and stay in the mix.

“We’re in a great position at the minute and we want to stay there, but we have to keep winning because it can easily change.

“We’ve got three or four games coming up now that we need to win.

“Obviously looking at the top is where we want to be so it’s exciting, but there’s a long way to go.

“We’ve got to play a lot of teams in and around us. There’s Hull yet to play and we have Derby coming up.

“Blackburn won’t be easy either, so they’re all difficult games, but we have a bit of momentum at the minute.

“We bounced back from Hull with some good wins and like I say, Saturday was a massive win for us because we want to be top of the league.”

Downing has urged caution – Boro have been top already this season, only to be overtaken by Brighton, who they thumped 3-0 at the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

“We were top early on in the season, then slipped to fourth, then up to third,” said Downing in an interview with the club’s website. “You’re up and down, that’s the league because you’re playing so often.

“If we don’t win the next couple then we could find ourselves fourth so the message from us as players and boss is to keep it going.”