AFTER scoring the winning goal against Watford, Middlesbrough striker Scott McDonald believes the feel-good factor that Saturday's win brought to the dressing room could help kick-start their season.
Boro have had an indifferent start to the new campaign, winning five of their first ten games, losing four and drawing once.
That is in contrast to this time last year, when Tony Mowbray's side were enjoying an 11-game unbeaten run and at this stage were five points better off than they are now.
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However, Saturday's win at Vicarage Road means the squad can enjoy the international break and spend extra time on the training ground plotting their next move up the table when they travel to Brighton next weekend.
It also means the squad will spend the next week recovering and with several key first-team players nursing injuries, Mowbray will be hopeful of having a few of those back for the trip to the south coast.
McDonald made his first appearance of the season at the weekend after spending two months out in the cold.
But he believes the win has lifted spirits after a disappointing that saw Boro lose to Leicester and draw with Derby at the Riverside.
"It's a nice way to go into a two-week break with a feel good factor.
Hopefully we can bring that on, have a good couple of weeks training as a squad and start again against Brighton next weekend," McDonald said.
"Consistency is what it's about in this league. If you can get a couple of wins you're right up there. It's anybody's league. We're quite confident that we can be up there come the end of the season. We just need to string a few results together."
Boro were given a helping hand by referee Steve Rushton at Vicarage Road, when he sent off Watford striker Matej Vydra for an apparent stamp on Nicky Bailey.
Mowbray admitted afterwards he thought the decision was harsh on Gianfranco Zola's side, but at the time his side were struggling and needed a boost.
That came from Marvin Emnes' 30th minute equaliser, which was followed by the red card, and although the Teessiders played far from their best, McDonald insists the fact they came away from the game with three points was the most important thing.
He said: "We got a bit fortunate against Watford with the red card, we didn't play great but we've come away with a result, with three points and if you can do that you will find yourself in and amongst it as the season goes on."
McDonald's first-half substitute appearance was the first time he had pulled on a Boro shirt since the last day of last season, and having missed out on game time the striker admits it will take a few more games to get up to speed.
"It wasn't too bad because it was against ten men," he said. "Although, in the first ten minutes of the second half I was like 'Woah, hold on' but the adrenaline kicks in and obviously the rest is history."
Mowbray could be handed a double injury boost for next weekend's trip to Brighton after Kevin Thomson and Stuart Parnaby returned to training this week.
However, Cameron Park has had to pull out of the Scotland Under-21s squad through injury.
* Tickets are selling fast for the forthcoming Middlesbrough Former Players Dinner, with Jan Fjortoft the latest big name guest announced for an event that will also feature Tony Mowbray, David Wheater, Bernie Slaven, Craig Hignett and Bruce Rioch.
Former Boro striker Fjortoft, who was Boro's £1.3m record signing in 1995, will travel from his home in Norway for Six Decades of Boro Stars at the Riverside on the night of Friday October 26.
Tables of 10 are priced just £350, with individual tickets £35 each. All funds raised will go towards helping former Boro stars who have fallen on hard times together with a wide range of Teesside charities and good causes.
To book, call Middlesbrough FC sales team on 01642 757657 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details about the Former Players Association, visit www.middlesbroughfpa.com