DARREN RANDOLPH wants Middlesbrough’s resurgence to continue so that everyone at the club can start dreaming of the Premier League as the promotion race enters its final stages.

There are just ten matches remaining of the season and Boro appear to be timing their improved form at just the right time after climbing into the Championship’s play-off places.

Tuesday night’s narrow victory over Garry Monk’s Birmingham City at St Andrew’s has given Middlesbrough the advantage in the topsy-turvy battle for promotion to the top-flight.

It was the latest positive result recorded by Middlesbrough, who have now gone four matches unbeaten and they have collected ten points from a possible 12 during that time.

Middlesbrough had struggled to force their way back into the top six until last Friday, when they jumped in and then dropped out after the home win over Leeds United. The last time they had occupied a play-off spot under Monk was back in November.

Under Tony Pulis there is definitely more discipline in the team’s play and in recent matches – they have scored ten in the last four games – they have started to look more dangerous in attack too.

Randolph said: “What’s changed is probably the style of football, that’s it really. The last manager we weren’t in the play-offs but we weren’t far off it, I would probably say the shape has changed, we are more defensively minded now.

“I feel more secure as a team but winning breeds confidence and clean sheets breeds confidence and belief as well.

“At this stage of the season and you are winning games, you are in the play-offs, then everyone has it in the back of their minds that we could be the team that makes that late run and then you start dreaming.

“Whereas in November time you still think there’s months and months to go, so there’s not that urgency. Now you want to be in there and you want to keep putting pressure on the other teams.”

It is relegation threatened Barnsley next up at the Riverside on Saturday when Middlesbrough will be looking to close the gap on Derby and Fulham above them; while Bristol City, Preston and Sheffield United are all hoping to stay in the hunt below them.

The tightness of the division meant that it was vital Middlesbrough left Birmingham on Tuesday with maximum points, but Randolph did not think that the Monk factor came into the equation from the Teesside club’s perspective.

The former Blues goalkeeper said: “I am not in everyone else’s head in the change room, maybe one or two had appoint to prove to him.

“I just wanted to play well and get three points. We had to win regardless of how well we played, or regardless of proving anything to anyone. I feel like we had no points to prove, we just have to climb the table.

“You see every season teams can make a late push and we have to keep putting pressure on the teams above us and around us.

“I don’t care if we get ten per cent possession in every game, as long as we are winning. The time for pretty football is long gone, we have to keep picking up the points and as long as we do it I will take it.”

Middlesbrough’s good form has been helped by the fact that Patrick Bamford has found his feet in front of goal again. The former Chelsea striker had struggled to score goals because he has struggled to nail down a place since leading Boro to the play-off final in 2015.

However, Bamford has now scored seven in his last four matches and has ensured that Middlesbrough’s lack of attacking options is not too much of an issue at this stage – having allowed Martin Braithwaite and Ashley Fletcher to leave, plus the serious injury to Rudy Gestede.

But Pulis is keeping an eye on Bamford after revealing that he was forced to play with a hamstring concern at Birmingham, which was why Britt Assombalonga replaced him in the second half.

Pulis said: “Patrick had been injured for part of the season but he is benefitting from playing again. There are a few who have been injured, Patrick has real quality and is a good player.

“Forwards want goals and when they score the confidence comes back. Rudy had just started scoring goals and did his ankle. We are very pleased with Patrick.”