Middlesbrough will be a force next term – Rhys Williams

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RHYS Williams believes that under the guidance of Tony Mowbray Middlesbrough will be a force to be reckoned with in the Championship next season.

The Australian international, pictured, has been impressed with the leadership of the former Boro favourite since he took over the Riverside reins back in October.

Williams only returned from a year-long pelvic problem two months ago but has been instrumental in helping steer The Reds away from danger.

They have lost just once in the last 10 outings, and the 22-year-old Academy graduate is confident that things are looking up on Teesside.

“The lads are coming together really well now and if we had three or four more wins this season we’d be up there challenging for promotion,” said Williams ahead of Monday night’s trip to third-placed Cardiff City, who are still in with a shout of automatic promotion.

“I know that’s all ifs and but’s next year will be a big season for us.

“ The manager will be able to bring his own players in. With Tony Mowbray in charge, I think we’ve got a massive chance.”

Williams was rested for the weekend’s win at Hull City and felt the benefits when he returned to the side for the victory against Coventry City on Monday.

“The rest on Saturday did me the world of good,” he said. “I just sat at home with my feet up and watched the scores come in!

“I was pleased for Scott (McDonald) getting a hat-trick and it shows that on our day we can beat anyone and we should be looking up and not down the table.”

After a few games where he has played in more advanced positions, Williams returned to a centre-back role against the Sky Blues.

He began the game with Andrew Davies alongside him, but by the end of the first half had a rookie partner in teenage debutant Ben Gibson.

“He’s a good player, I see him in training every day and I know what he can do,” Williams said.

Trailing to Lucas Jutkiewicz’s first-half strike, Boro levelled through Julio Arca but once again left it until the very end to clinch the three points through Tarmo Kink’s delightful chip – and Williams joked that the late goal habit is all for affect.

He said: “I think we just do it for the fans – they love it! They used to leave before the end to miss the traffic but now they stay till the end now to watch us score in the last few minutes.

“You could tell we tired in the second half but we dug in and Tarmo’s great finish gave us all three points.”