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Cooper backs Mowbray to stop the rot
COLIN COOPER has moved to reassure Middlesbrough supporters that Tony Mowbray is doing everything in his power to stop the rot after his side went from serious promotion contenders to play-off outsiders.
Only a matter of months ago, Boro were in the driving seat for an automatic promotion spot after an impressive first half of the season, but their situation has gone somewhat south since the turn of they year.
Two league wins in 2013 has left Boro sitting in their lowest position of the season, ninth, and Mowbray's squad has given themselves an uphill task to end their stint in the second tier of English football.
Despite that disastrous run, the Boro squad are only three points behind Nottingham Forest in the final play-off place, but if they are to claw themselves back into contention a string of wins must begin sooner rather than later.
As a former team-mate and someone who works closely with Mowbray on a daily basis, Cooper revealed the Boro boss is leaving no stone unturned in his bid to find a solution to their current form.
The youth team coach said: "Being in the office every day, they're trying hard to find a solution.
"Football is strange in that one minute you're on the up, you don't think you're going to lose, then sometimes you can't find where the next win is going to come from.
"Unfortunately what you can sometimes do in football is analyse everything. We've got the ability to analyse everything in football now.
"With the analysis you can do off the field the answers might not always be there. Sometimes it just doesn't work. Before Christmas it didn't look like we'd lose a game, now we don't know when we'll win again.
"One win in 11, it's hard graft, but I can honestly say that hand on heart. I work with those boys every day. Every single day they're posing questions, trying to find the answers to turn things around."
Boro entertain Birmingham at the Riverside this Saturday needing something out of the game to keep within sight of the top six and Cooper believes still being in a position to catch the teams above should spur the side on.
He said: "We're still in touching distance. That's a bonus. But it's going to be hard because the form has to turn quickly if we're going to get back in the play-off picture, but fingers crossed.
"It's not going to be easy, mainly because of the form. First half of the season all went to plan, Tony and the two Marks (Proctor and Venus) got us in a good position. Since Christmas it has been hard graft for them."
Since their form has been on a downward spiral, crowds at the Riverside have understandably dwindled, but having seen the effect an electric atmosphere can have during his playing days, Cooper hopes supporters can play their part.
He said: "They have to come here, that's a good thing. What we need to do is turn those games in particular into those real Riverside Roar days.
"It'll be hard, but it can turn as quickly as it did the other way. We're going into the last block of games and we could go win seven or eight and we'd be okay.
"I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed that the work they are putting in at Rockliffe will turn things around quickly."
Cooper was speaking at the launch of the Finlay Cooper Fund's trek to Kilimanjaro, at Riverside Stadium on Monday.
The pair will be part of a group of 15 explorers who will attempt to reach the 4,895m summit of Africa's highest mountain to raise cash for children's charities.
To sponsor Cooper and Hignett along with their fellow Kilimanjaro trekkers visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/finlaycooperfund or to donate £5 to the Finlay Cooper Fund text "coop15 £5" to 70070.