THEIR recent form hardly inspires confidence, but Albert Adomah claims Middlesbrough’s players are targeting eight wins from their final ten matches in order to make a late push for the play-offs.
Saturday’s goalless draw at Bournemouth left Boro 12 points adrift of the top six, a huge tally given they have only picked up one win since the middle of January.
Any hope of promotion would appear to have vanished on the back of a run of just three goals from the last ten games, but Adomah insists that no one in the Teessiders’ camp is giving up hope.
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The history books prove it is possible for a side to make an unexpected late surge into a play-off position, and while Boro’s problems in front of goal would appear to render such an upturn in form extremely unlikely, Adomah claims it is too early to throw in the towel.
“There’s ten games left and we’re 12 points off the play-offs,” said the winger. “It’s obviously a tough ask now, but this is football and anything could happen.
“We could win all ten games and then we’d be in a great position. It’s hard to set targets, but even if we could win eight of the ten games, that would still leave us well placed and it would be a possibility (to make the play-offs).
“Who knows? We can’t look too far ahead but it would be wrong to say that it’s too late to do anything.”
If Boro are to make an unlikely late surge, they will have to discover a cutting edge in front of goal. On Saturday, they failed to record a single effort on target as they ground out their fourth goalless draw in the space of nine matches, and Danny Graham’s brace against Ipswich represents the only goals scored by a Boro striker since New Year’s Day.
Adomah’s last goal came on December 29, and with Mustapha Carayol expected to miss the rest of the season after damaging his cruciate ligaments, Aitor Karanka’s attacking resources look extremely limited.
The Spaniard insists his 4-2-3-1 formation is not at fault, but Adomah has hinted at a tactical flaw that is hindering Boro’s attacking capabilities.
While Bournemouth attempted to play the ball from the back at the weekend, their opponents opted to go long on a number of occasions, a ploy Adomah feels does not play to his team-mates’ strengths.
“They (Bournemouth) played football, and too many times, we did the opposite and played too much route one,” he said. “They played more of the football.
“You have to give credit to Bournemouth. They played us off the park really. We had them on the back foot a couple of times, but they got the upper hand by passing well.
“The defenders did well because we kept a clean sheet, but going forward, we didn’t really quite click. We had a couple of chances, but they weren’t really one-on-one opportunities, it was more crosses coming in that dashed across the goal. We didn’t really threaten the keeper enough.”
The full extent of Carayol’s knee injury remains unclear as a full set of scans cannot be completed until the swelling around the injured area subsides. However, the Gambia-born winger is not expected to feature in the remainder of the campaign.
* Middlesbrough were named Football League Family Club of the Year at the Football League Awards in London. England youth international Bryn Morris was shortlisted for the Championship Apprentice of the Year award, but missed out to Derby County’s Mason Bennett.