Middlesbrough’s Tony McMahon targets five victories

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TONY McMahon is challenging his team-mates to win five out of the remaining 10 games to cement Middlesbrough’s play-off place.

Boro are in the capital tonight to take on a West Ham side that has struggled of late and dropped out of the automatic promotion places.

The Teessiders have also had a poor run and are clinging on to the top six by just a point after a demoralising defeat at Birmingham City on Saturday.

Tonight will be the second time Boro will have been on TV in the space of a few weeks, with the other being the disappointing defeat to Leeds United.

That was followed up at the weekend by a 3-0 drubbing by another promotion rival in Birmingham City, which saw the Midlanders leapfrog Boro in the league.

McMahon said there were “words” in the away changing room on Saturday, but is sure none of the players will be dwelling on the back-to-back defeats.

Birmingham was the first time the Teessiders had lost away from the Riverside in nine games and the right-back is hoping they can rediscover that form tonight.

“We have been really good away from home,” said the 24-year-old who was recalled to play in a back three against the Blues.

“Birmingham was perhaps the worst we have been. We go to West Ham and we know we can get a result.

“I would be lying if I said we didn’t look at the league , because we all do. We are right in the mix and will stick together and have a right good go.

“It’s that tight at the minute we have to get back to winning ways and if we look after ourselves the table will take care of itself.

“If we go on a little run and get four or five wins out of 10 we will be right up there.”

Boro will again be without key men Barry Robson and Rhys Williams, while fellow midfielder Faris Haroun is also out.

Robson will serve his second game of a three-match ban while Williams will miss most, if not all, the remaining games with ankle ligament damage.

“It’s a massive blow,” said McMahon. “He can play anywhere – central midfield, in defence – he can play so many positions and is a top player.

“He will be massively missed. We are all devastated for him, but hopefully he gets back sooner rather than later.

“We have to put it behind us. It’s part and parcel of football that you lose games, but it’s disappointing how we lost. We gifted them three games.

I don’t think Birmingham were miles and miles better than we are.”

Manager Tony Mowbray admits it’s not certain that the Australian will play again this season.

He said: “Rhys has damaged ligaments in his ankle and that’s never a week or so, it’s always a few weeks. Let’s hope we can see him again this season. The physios are hopeful that he could still have a part to play.

“We’ll assess it as the weeks roll on. He’ll have two or three weeks in a cast and then we’ll assess it once he gets that off and starts running and see how bad it is. It’s a blow but we have to keep going.”