WHAT a difference this week has made in Boro’s season. But it’s been an especially brilliant for their Argentine starlet Martin Payero.

Middlesbrough’s three wins in a row has been equally reflected by the performances of Boro’s number ten as he begins to show signs of coping with the pace and the competition of the Championship. The third win on the trot was capped off by a cracking finish from Payero to seal the 2-0 win over Cardiff City and condemn Mick McCarthy to the sack.

Payero’s hot and cold season has been a hot topic of debate amongst the Boro faithful with fans growing increasingly frustrated at his absence from the starting eleven since his move from Banfield in the summer. While his performances have been hot and cold, fans still vented their frustration at his lack of game time.

Before last week, Payero had started just one Championship game against Reading where Boro slumped to a 1-0 defeat. The Argentine midfielder looked out of sorts and subsequently went on to miss the next few games after picking up and injury.

Before that, there had been glimpses of his ability in late substitute appearances. With Boro trailing against Blackpool at the Riverside Stadium, Payero attempted on audacious curling effort was inches from finding the net as the ball cracked off the bar. He was full of energy and wanted to make something happen for Boro.

However, in that vein, that could have been Payero’s downfall in the early part of the season.

Boro manager Neil Warnock has been patient with the Argentine and has admitted that it could take ‘months’ for him to adjust to English football. However, Payero seemed eager to please in training perhaps was attempting to do too much to show the Boro hierarchy what he’s capable of.

Speaking back in August, Warnock said: The physicality of the game. New country and new culture, language. I was talking to Steve (Gibson) the other day and I said to him ‘it might take a couple of months’. He said to me straight away ‘well it took Juninho three months’.

"He didn’t even look a player for three months and then all of a sudden it triggered. So I wouldn’t mind him doing the same as him in three months time!

"You can see when he’s training or when he’s in the games, he beats himself up at times because he knows that he should be a little bit quicker but that will come that.

"I’ve just said not to expect too much of himself for a few months and just try and try and enjoy the training and getting fitter and sharper to what’s required. It will just click in the next few months."

Well months have gone by and Warnock has been true to his word. We could be seeing the early signs that things may well have clicked for Payero.

While Boro’s injury crisis may well have forced Warnock’s hand to field Payero, he’ll have a job on his hands finding a reason to keep him out of the side at the moment.

It’s important to have a bit of perspective when it comes to these run of results. While Boro did have to go out and perform, realistically they should have won all three games.

Now with some sterner tests to come against Birmingham and Luton, these will be a run of games that could be a true indicator for Payero and Boro.

Going back to the weekend, the Boro boss wasn’t just pleased with his goal at the weekend but enjoyed his all round play.

He told BBC Radio Tees Sport: “I don’t just think it was the goal if I’m honest. I think his overall performance was very good today.

“I even thought he was that good in the air if I’m honest. The lads give him a round of applause when I said that to him in affluent Spanish. He won a lot in the air against big lads today.

“He kept us ticking along. Sometimes I’ve said in a press conference, the most difficult thing is the most simple one and he keeps it simple at times whereas now one or two lads try and complicate and become unstuck.

“I was really pleased with him. I was glad to see the lads give him a round of applause.”

It always tricky business trying to unearth a gem that hasn’t played a minute of English football.

Now that Boro’s season could have potentially turned a corner, Payero’s contribution to the side couple with the latest run of wins has given hope to Boro fans that the mutually beneficial partnership can spearhead a promotion push.