Middlesbrough-Norwich: Garry Monk chasing Riverside double
Garry Monk is looking to take Middlesbrough into the international break with a Riverside double, starting with Norwich City tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
Boro are on home soil twice inside five days, with Brentford visiting Teesside on Saturday.
Championship football then shuts down for the final round of World Cup qualifiers and with Boro moving along nicely in sixth place, Monk wants no backwards steps from his team.
Boro are unbeaten in seven league and cup matches, with their 1-1 draw at Fulham on Saturday lifting them into the play-off places.
“We have two important games this week,” said Monk. “We want to try to reach the international break with the run intact, we’re at home in front of our fans and on our patch, where we have done well, that will be our intention.
“But our focus is first on Norwich.”
Monk was thrilled with the draw at Craven Cottage, where Cyrus Christie struck the equaliser.
It kept the unbeaten run going following a pep talk from their manager, who is now looking for consistency of performance as well as results.
“I told the players to have the belief and confidence in themselves,” he said. “We are a good team.
“We have shown this season in certain periods how powerful we can be and how good we can be.
“We have done it in snippets but we are striving for that consistency.
“The attitude, character and commitment from the players is first class and that’s what’s going to get them there.
“We are seven games unbeaten now and we feel once we hit our stride then we’ll do really well in every single game.”
“We’re moving in the right direction, that’s the key.”
Monk has been delighted with the application of his players, with Boro showing a never-say die spirit to snatch a point in London.
“It’s an important trait to have,” said Monk. “The mentality has to be as strong as the football, we’ve worked hard on that with the players.
“We have to be focused and strong in every moment and we showed that.
“We’ve had some really good periods of football, when we’ve looked powerful and dangerous, it’s now putting that into a complete performance.
“Consistency is coming and it’s important our aim in the coming weeks and months is to do that.”
Monk is likely to retain the same side this evening which means midfielder Jonny Howson will come up against his former club.