Chris Wilder's Championship play-off message as Middlesbrough keep hopes alive

Chris Wilder is delighted that Middlesbrough will be heading into their penultimate game of the season at the weekend with their promotion hopes still very much alive in the wake of their 2-0 win over Cardiff.

Thursday, 28th April 2022, 10:38 am
Middlesbrough's Marcus Tavernier (centre) celebrates.
Middlesbrough's Marcus Tavernier (centre) celebrates.

Goals from Marcus Tavernier and Riley McGree lifted Boro above Millwall and Blackburn into seventh in the Sky Bet Championship table, two points adrift of sixth-placed Sheffield United.

The Blades are in action on Friday night, when they travel to Loftus Road to take on QPR, and while Wilder insists he will not be watching his former side’s showdown in west London, he will be well aware that a Sheffield United defeat would mean Boro could claim a place in the top six when they host Stoke in their final home game on Saturday.

Even if Sheffield United were to win at QPR, Boro would still be heading into the Stoke game with a realistic chance of making the play-offs, and Wilder is pleased his players ended a five-game winless run to ensure their season is not yet over.

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Wilder said: “It’s job done. We understood the job we needed to get done and we did that. The first goal was a big one, it settled us down and was a big moment we needed as we talked about. We found it and then we tried to play.

“I don’t think it was a real flowing performance, but it was a 2-0 win.

“We just have to rest and recover now ahead of the weekend. Stoke have had a free week and have some very good players, but we take it deep.

“We take it to the 45th game of the season, and I think that’s all we can ask of the boys,” he added.

With Boro having picked up just two points from their previous five matches, there was an unstable edginess both on and off the pitch in the opening half-hour.

Tavernier’s opening goal, which came courtesy of an excellent low finish from just outside the box, settled the Teessiders down, and they went on to dominate the rest of the game.