WITH his side in the Championship play-off places, Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder expects the next ten games to be a crucial period, with matches against promotion rivals sandwiching a glamour FA Cup tie at Manchester United.

A 2-1 win over Reading at the weekend, where Matt Crooks scored a stoppage-time winner at the Riverside, saw Boro climb to sixth in the table, level on points with West Brom.

Boro are enjoying a tremendous run of form, with an unbeaten run stretching to eight games, including five wins in a row.

Wilder's men have a slight breather ahead of their next game, which comes against promotion rivals Blackburn next Monday night.

"We’re going into a big game now with Blackburn and a big period" said the Boro boss. "Every period of the season is important. We know if we want to be in the mix in the last ten games of the season then in the next nine or ten games, we need to be consistent and pick up results.

"We’ve got a huge challenge on Monday."

Boro are looking to continue their fine recent form in the league, but in between their league games is a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Ralf Rangnick's side are out of sorts at the moment and struggling for form as they sit seventh in the Premier League table. As for the challenge ahead, Wilder and his squad are looking forward to taking it on.

"I think it’s a great period of games we are going into" the Boro boss added. "We’ve got the Man United game coming up and got 9,000 tickets. I’d love the supporters to sell out our tickets. You don’t usually get to go to Man United every other week so going there will be great.

"In between, we’ve got the important big games to be involved in and that’s where we want to be. We want to play big games."

Boro go up against a Rovers side who are unbeaten in ten Championship games and currently sit third in the table.