FOR all the role they are playing as spoilers in the promotion race, the Middlesbrough mantra continues to focus on taking momentum into the summer break.

Saturday’s draw at Ipswich followed a similar midweek result at Hull, while the next test of Boro’s nine-match unbeaten run is the visit of Leeds to the Riverside next Monday.

Captain Jonny Howson insists that while their recent opponents are fighting for greater prizes, Boro have to look internally.

Howson said: “Ipswich’s situation was irrelevant to us. We had our own agenda coming into the game and we wanted to win it. We knew it would be difficult against a side going ever so well and going for promotion.

“We did keep our unbeaten run going and we want to keep that going until the end of the season. It’s something we can be proud of.

“Leeds will be a big game and we want to come away with three points in that. They’re still the kind of games you want to play in. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere.

“They’ve obviously got their own aims. From our point of view, we don’t just want to throw these final three games away.

“We want to end them in the best possible manner and keep this unbeaten run going. Hopefully we can then take that into next season as well.

“Whether as an individual or as a team, you always want to turn up and perform because fans pay their money and come to see a performance and come to see us give effort. That won’t change from my part and I’m pretty sure the rest of the boys will follow suit as well.”

The draw at Ipswich combined with Norwich’s late win at Preston means that Boro are almost certain to miss out on the Championship play-offs.

While their unbeaten run started just too late, Boro boss Michael Carrick sees it as an essential building block for next season.

Carrick said: “We want to finish the season strongly and continue to do the right things. We’re on a decent run at the moment and we want to try and keep building on that.

“The aim is to just try and keep winning football matches really. I’m proud of the players. They’ve done a lot of work as a group and this is something to build on going into the Leeds game.

“It’s the next game, a big game at this stage of the season. They’ve obviously got something else going on, like Ipswich today, but that doesn’t really bother us or concern us. It didn’t today and it won’t next week.”