Championship wrap: Middlesbrough continue promotion push
Tony Mowbray's Middlesbrough picked up their second successive win as they continue their promotion push, writes James Pozzi
Middlesbrough a good outside bet for a top-two finish
Tony Mowbray, on the verge of completing two years in charge of the north east club, saw his side pick up another win at the weekend. With long-term backer Steve Gibson scaling back his level of investment in the past two seasons since relegation from the Premier League, Mowbray has had to combine shrewd transfer dealings with relying on the club’s famed youth academy. The results are finally coming to fruition, with ‘Boro now in fourth and looking a strong bet for a play-off berth at the very least. Emerging once again as a key player was Josh McEachran, currently on loan from Chelsea, who’s assured and balanced midfield play kept his side ticking over. Striker Scott McDonald, often held up as a prime example of the poor value in the Gordon Strachan era, netted twice as his side saw off Dougie Freedman’s Bolton 2-1 at the Riverside.
Peterborough star Boyd sure to be in demand next January
George Boyd was influential at the weekend as his side’s miraculous turnaround in fortunes gathered pace courtesy of a 3-0 win against Derby County. Peterborough are now out of the bottom three for the first time this season, notching up a fourth win of the season to ease pressure on manager Darren Ferguson. A few weeks ago, this blog tipped the relegation favourites to carry out an unlikely great escape, and so far, the Posh are putting up an impressive fight! However, caution is required as there is still a long way to go in the season, but the supporters will be buoyed by their side’s recent revival. Boyd, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has so far resisted fresh terms, is the club’s remaining big name and his looming exit could have a major impact on whether Peterborough manage to defy the odds and stay up this season.
The right appointment essential for Palace to continue on the up
If Crystal Palace fans were disappointed to lose Dougie Freedman to Bolton Wanderers last week, then their pain was somewhat eased as their side picked up a second straight win since becoming managerless in an excellent 2-1 away victory at second-place Leicester City. Now up in third, The Eagles’ success was undoubtedly orchestrated by the work of Freedman, and it seemed inevitable that other clubs would take note and poach him. But what the Scot has left behind is a promising team full of exciting young talent and whoever the new man is will owe as much to Freedman as to themselves if they are to have a successful season.
Dyche a sensible appointment for Burnley
Burnley, who saw Eddie Howe depart back to old club Bournemouth last week, are believed to be set to announce former Watford manager Sean Dyche as their new boss this week. Dyche, who was cruelly dismissed in the summer by the Hornet’s new Italian owners, the Pozzo family, had performed a very good job at Vicarage Road which saw an 11th-place finish last season while working on a shoestring budget. His new side, soundly thrashed 4-0 away to league leaders Cardiff City on Saturday, find themselves lying in 14th place and will be in need a boost. If Dyche can pick up from where he left off at Watford and use his motivational skills to stead the ship, then Burnley fans will have little worry of being dragged into the dreaded relegation dogfight this term.