Southgate looks for grand finale
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gareth Southgate insists a good finish is essential to Middlesbrough's season.
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate insists a good finish to the Premiership season is still essential.
Boro are currently firmly entrenched in mid-table - nine points off Tottenham in seventh, and a likely Uefa Cup spot, and nine points above the relegation places.
Having been knocked out of the FA Cup earlier this month by Manchester United - Boro only have the league to worry about and Southgate is looking for a big finish in order to help his future plans.
"I have an idea of what we want in the summer. Obviously the way we finish the season and where we finish will affect everything," he said.
"These things do impact on the whole club, both in terms of facilities, new contracts and bringing in players. So finishing as high as possible impacts on everything.
"But the players are motivated to finish as high as they possibly can.
"If we beat West Ham, who knows what it might be possible to achieve.
"One or two of the teams above us have not been in the best of form lately, so we need to try to put another unbeaten run together and then see what we can achieve.
"We have three games coming up against teams that are currently below us in the league.
"You never know how it is going to pan out. Everybody is playing for something. But there are plenty of points available for us and so there is a great deal that can be achieved.
"We have experience of Europe and players who want to get back there. You never know what might happen if we can keep winning."
Meanwhile, Southgate has welcomed Brad Jones's decision to pledge his future to the club.
"It is pleasing we have managed to keep hold of a promising young goalkeeper who was coveted by other clubs," he told the club's website.
"It is about him developing over the next couple of years and pressing Mark for his position.
"We are lucky that we have players like Brad and Ross Turnbull who could become very good goalkeepers."