Middlesbrough aim to sting the Hornets

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TONY Mowbray is looking to see Middlesbrough go into the international break on a high by enjoying a televised tea-time treat against Watford (kick-off 5.20pm).

Boro have not registered back-to-back victories since winning on the road at Burnley and Crystal Palace in md-September.

But if Mowbray’s side see off the stuttering Hornets at the Riverside they will be guaranteed to go into the 14-day breather in at least third position.

A home win and a defeat or draw for West Ham at Hull will see Boro move back into the automatic promotion places in the npower Championship.

Mowbray is excited at the prospect, especially after seeing his side hit back from last Saturday’s debacle at Southampton with a 3-1 win at Doncaster on Tuesday night.

“If we take six points from these two games then the disappointment of Southampton will be put well behind us and it will be a nice way to go into the international break,” said the Boro boss.

“We know it’s going to be difficult and there will be expectations on us.

“I read a stat this week that we are unbeaten in 14 at home – we have to try to make it 15, hopefully with three points.”

Boro have an enviable home undefeated record, although only two of this season’s seven-match sequence have been victories.

Too many matches have ended in draws but Mowbray has been boosted by Tuesday night’s win at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Boro have amassed nine points from losing positions – the best record in the npower Championship.

It looked bad for Boro when Billy Sharp’s beauty put Rovers ahead but Boro struck three times through a Barry Robson double which sandwiched a Marvin Emnes strike on the stroke of half-time.

“It was a patchy performance,” Mowbray said.

“We weren’t totally dominant but I was delighted to take the three points.

“Sometimes it’s desperately important just to bag the points especially after a defeat.”

Emnes’s goal took him to 10 for the season and Mowbray will be looking to see the Dutchman keep it going against the Hornets.

“It was good for Marvin, that’s two in three for him now,” said Mogga, mindful that the 23-year-old had endured a bit of a barren run following his earl-season blitz.

“He got a header against Derby in our last home match.

“I’m delighted for him that he’s keeping it going.”

Boro will go into tonight’s Sky Sports 2-screened contest as warm favourites.

Watford, who finished only a point behind Boro in last season’s table, have endured a difficult time following the departure of boss Malky Mackay to Cardiff and top scorer, ex-Boro striker, Danny Graham to Swansea.

Sean Dyche’s team have won only four times in the league and currently stand fourth bottom.

While Boro have kept three clean sheets in their last four at the Riverside, Watford have shipped nine goals in their last three away trips.

But Mowbray is taking nothing for granted, saying: “All games are difficult whether you are playing a team at the bottom or at the top.”

Justin Hoyte, who limped off at the Keepmoat Stadium with a hamstring strain, looks like missing this evening’s game but Nicky Bailey (calf), who was also substituted, should be fit.

Kevin Thomson (hamstring) is almost certain to be out.