Middlesbrough boss has message for players ahead of Hull City and Sunderland clashes

Britt Assombalonga.
Britt Assombalonga.
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Garry Monk says Middlesbrough must back up their first win in six matches by doing it again at Hull City tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

Boro ended their barren run on Saturday with a 2-0 success at Reading thanks to skipper Grant Leadbitter’s first-half penalty after Britt Assombalonga was brought down, with the striker heading in the match-clincher a quarter of an hour from time.

Monk’s side are now just three points outside the Championship’s top six, making this evening’s visit to the erratic Tigers vital.

“It needs to be backed up, it’s an important week for us, like they all are,” said the boss, whose side host Sunderland in the Tees-Wear derby on Sunday.

“Runs of results are key in this league and we took the opportunity on Saturday [at Reading] and we need to do it again.”

Monk was delighted by the manner of the display at the Madejski Stadium, where he says Boro struck “the right balance” between attack and being solid at the back.

It’s a balance Boro must continue at the KC. Hull, for all the growing unrest among their fans, are the division’s top scorers, even if they find themselves down in 17th.

“Saturday was a good response to the recent period,” Monk said in an interview with www.mfc.co.uk.

“We need to show the same level of desire and spirit and quality when we need to.

“Getting that winning feeling again was important as well as a clean sheet.

“We know we can do both sides of what is needed, defensively and offensively.

“The key is knowing and understanding the league we are in, maybe in the recent period we’ve not got the defensive/offensive balance right – we’ve possibly been too offensive and too open at the back.”

Boro will be roared on with a big support in the East Riding this evening and Monk says he and the team are desperate to deliver for the red army.

“We want to make them proud,” said the boss who looks set to send out an unchanged side.

“This period has really hurt all of us, myself the staff, the players

“We want to give the fans something to shout about, week-in week-out.”