JONATHAN WOODGATE wants Middlesbrough to recapture their resilient streak in a bid to get their season back on track ahead of this Saturday’s trip to relegation threatened Barnsley.

Boro have not kept a clean sheet in the winless run that has now stretched to nine games without a win, seven in the league, and seen their advantage to the bottom three reduced to six points.

Middlesbrough can’t afford to slip up at Oakwell or the alarm bells will really start to ring when there will be 3,700 travelling fans making their way to South Yorkshire.

Woodgate is keen to see a return to the sort of form that earned him the manager of the month for December, a month when four straight wins lifted them clear of danger, after failing to beat struggling Luton and Wigan in their last two games.

“It was a very disappointing game (Luton), the way we played, that wasn’t us,” said Woodgate.

“We have been better than that a lot of times and we look to bounce back against Barnsley.

"We have never been out of it. I never had that thought and I thought it would be tough.

“I said after Preston away on January 1 there would be rocky patches and there has been.

"We need to get back to keeping clean sheets. Those four wins were built on clean sheets and playing well. The more you keep the more you will win.

“Did I expect to get beat off Luton? No. Did I expect a better performance on the day? Yes.

"We need to build on a strong foundation at the back and try to get clean sheets. We have scored a few away from home but let’s get the foundations right first.”

Middlesbrough have welcomed George Friend and Ryan Shotton back into the fold in the last week following long lay-offs, and Anfernee Dijksteel has returned to training. Daniel Ayala and Dael Fry remain sidelined.

“Dael and Ayala are out, Dijksteel has been back in training, I will look to get him a game next Friday (for Under-23s). Dani is four weeks, Dael too,” said Woodgate.

“It brings back experience, George and Ryan being back, experience and they know the Championship inside and out.

"George got through Saturday’s 90 minutes well. Putting him so early wasn’t what we wanted but he is a big character. We need the leaders and the more the better.”