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Rudy Gestede hopes for change of luck as Boro look to get back on track at the Riverside

Boro striker Rudy Gestede.
Boro striker Rudy Gestede.

Striker Rudy Gestede hopes that Middlesbrough’s luck will turn in tomorrow’s home Championship clash with Reading.

The Teessiders have netted just two goals in their last four matches at the Riverside in league and cup, both coming in last month’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat of Sunderland.

And Boro need to turn around their home form to get back on track in the push for a play-off place.

Last week’s 1-0 defeat at Norwich, when Gestede was sent off in the first half, dropped Boro to ninth, six points adrift of the play-offs.

Gestede, free to face Reading after having his Carrow Road red card rescinded, told mfc.co.uk: “I hope this is the game where things start to go for us, but if not then there is no panic – there are still 15 games more after this.

“But we have spoken for too long about decisions and breaks that have gone against us, now maybe it is our turn.

“We know we have ability here, let us now start winning games.”

Looking back on his sending-off, the ex-Villa and Blackburn man added: “I was very surprised when I was shown the red card. It was a 50-50 challenge and when someone wins those it looks like the other player has been smashed sometimes, but it was a fair challenge and thankfully other people have now seen it that way.”

Reading are still in danger of the drop, but defender Liam Moore believes the spirit is good in the Royals’ camp.

“Preparation has been good – we were very down after the (Millwall) match and I think the gaffer (Jaap Stam) noticed that,” Moore told readingfc.co.uk. “The players noticed it too of course; it was a difficult one to take.

“But it was important that we got spirits high in training. That includes hard work, but also a lot of enjoyment to try and pick morale back up.

“The manager and coaching staff have managed that very well in the last few days.

“We’re hurting more than anyone – we’re going out there and not performing the best or getting the results we want, but it really helped to have a couple of days to reassess and get spirits back high and be ready for this tough run-in that we’ve got.”

Moore is wary of Boro going into tomorrow’s game. He said: “Boro will mix it up – they’ve got good quality and they can play, but they’ve also got some big lads and runners up front so they can go direct if they need to.

“I’d say they know how to win a game, whichever route they decide to go.

“We need to be prepared for that and be better than them on the day.”

Reading boss Jaap Stam said of Boro on readingfc.co.uk: “The quality within their squad is there, good players, they play in a certain way as well and they can make it difficult for every team.

“Other teams have had results over there though, so while it’s not going to be easy, we’ll be trying to do that too.

“They’ve got certain players with a certain physicality within their squad, especially at set pieces. They’ve also got a lot of ability playing good football, so they can mix it up basically in what they want to choose to do.

“Sometimes they are looking to play more direct, sometimes they’re looking to play out from the back, so they’ve got everything within their squad to do well.

“But we know that, we’re aware of that, and hopefully we can do well.”

* Boro Under-23s beat Redcar Athletic 7-0 away in the North Riding Senior Cup last night, with Stephen Walker (3), Tyrone O’Neill (2), Billal Brahimi and Patrick Reading notching.