MIDDLESBROUGH can regain third spot in the npower Championship tonight – if they can burst the West Ham bubble (kick-off 7,45pm).
Sam Allardyce has made the Hammers a potent force on the road with the Londoners collecting 20 out of a possible 27 points outside Upton Park.
That run of form has given them the strongest away record in this division and put them second, five points above Boro.
But a win for Tony Mowbray’s side at the Riverside tonight would cut the deficit to two as well as take them above Cardiff, who are in Carling Cup action tonight.
“It’s important we try to win this game so the gap goes down to two points,” said Mowbray.
“If it got up to eight points it’s not too big a gap to claw back, there are still more than enough games.
“But in an ideal world you always want to stay within touching distance.
“You’d like to stay just one win away from clawing things back.
“It’s a big game for us but it is for them too - they will be up for it and they’ll be just as conscious of the gap.”
SEE Tuesday’s Mail for full story