Kiss of death?
Middlesbrough fan Sarah Heald is hoping that the Manager of the Month curse doesn't derail the club's promotion bid for a second successive season
Last Updated: November 30, 2012 9:39am
Following Tony Mowbray being named Championship Manager of the Month for October, Middlesbrough fans will be hoping it isn't the kiss of death to their promotion bid once again.
Mowbray received the same title in December last season and it promptly derailed Boro's promotion hopes as the club eventually finished just outside the play-off positions to dash their dreams of a return to the Premier League.
Prior to Tuesday's victory over Huddersfield Town, Boro had won just once in four games and suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Cardiff City and Bristol City, sparking fears that the club's promotion hopes were again set to dwindle.
The recent selection issues Mowbray has faced have not helped Boro's hopes of promotion, with key players George Friend, Jonathan Woodgate and Faris Haroun having missed out of late.
However, the 3-0 success over Huddersfield lifted Boro back into third and victory over Birmingham City on Friday night in front of the Sky Sports cameras would lift the Teesside club level on points with leaders Cardiff.
Billed among the favourites for promotion this season, Boro have more than shown they are Premier League ready with a brilliant performance in the Capital One Cup against North East rivals Sunderland proving they are true contenders for the Championship title.
Middlesbrough are no strangers to promotion campaigns having spent the past three seasons in the Championship following their relegation under then manager Gareth Southgate back in 2009.
And, since taking charge just over two years ago, Mowbray has turned Middlesbrough around from the dark days of Gordon Strachan, who failed to impress as manager at The Riverside during the 46 games he was in charge.
The locally-born manager has done well with the remnants of a poor Strachan side and a small transfer kitty, having cleared out all the high earners and non-performers since his appointment in 2010.
Mowbray has slowly brought in players who can play a style of football that has produced results week in week out. Lukas Jutkiewicz is one of those signings who has particularly impressed fans and manager alike with a tally of five goals this season.
But, despite the prospect of a place in the automatic promotion spots before their rivals play this weekend, Mowbray believes it is "too early" to talk promotion, saying: "Up to the New Year, it's about being in a position to compete so that you are at the right end of the table when the final places are decided.
"At the moment we are trying to edge our points total up by winning football matches."
Reflecting on the recent back-to-back defeats Mowbray insists Middlesbrough fans should not be disappointed with how the team performed, adding: "No team goes through the season without defeats. You've got to take it on the chin, set ourselves some targets and go on another unbeaten run."
Middlesbrough defender Justin Hoyte has also spoken of his team's desire for promotion this season saying: "I think we're much better set up.
"Last season we faded away but I feel this season we are pushing more and there is a desire and determination to prove exactly how we good we are."
Boro fans, however, will not be getting too excited over the prospects of their team's promotion chase just yet, having seen their side come so close in previous seasons.
With the majority of Middlesbrough fans content with the team's performance and position, their hope is that the team can build on their current success in the table, without getting too carried away with dreams of being back in the Premier League.