Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder has message for strikers as play-off battle reaches climax

Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder has not given up hope of a play-off place – and says there is still time for one of his forwards to be a hero.

Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 11:51 am

Wilder was defiant after watching his side lose more ground in the race for a play-off Championship berth with a 1-1 draw at Swansea at the weekend.

Wilder insisted his out-of-form team can still make the top six, Boro host Cardiff City at the Riverside on Wednesday evening.

And he has a message for his forwards including Andraz Sporar, Aaron Connolly, Falorin Balogun, Duncan Watmore and Josh Coburn.

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Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder. PA picture.

Wilder admitted: “We’ve not done well enough at the top end of the pitch.

“There’s no getting away from that because we’ve had enough chances.

“I’m always a bit reluctant to chuck it all on the forwards because we do get into great positions.

"Look at the weekend – Marcus Tavernier has to score, Anfernee Dijksteel has to score. But ultimately, the pressure and the onus is on the centre-forwards to score, and all of them have had enough chances.

“They’ve all had enough game time and enough chances to come up with the goods, and it seems at times they’re just reluctant to really grab that opportunity and say, ‘It’s me’.

"That’s the reason why we keep flip-flopping from player to player. If they did grab that opportunity, then maybe they’d find themselves having more game time.”

Wilder added: “Somebody can be a hero.

“We need big performances from everybody now, but there’s that chance there for somebody to really put themselves forward to be the hero.

"They all want to play at the top level, we all want to be involved at the top level, well to get to the top level, you have to have personality and character, and come up with the big moments when it really counts and the pressure is on.

“Our boys have to show they can make the difference between now and the end of the season. The teams that produce the big moments will be the ones that flourish, and they’ll be the ones that deserve to be in the play-offs. If we make it, then we deserve to be there. If we don’t, then there’ll be a reason for that.”