Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford has once again been the star of the Middlesbrough show this afternoon, and arguably the star of their whole season in general.
Boro won 1-0 over relegation-threatened Wigan earlier this afternoon, Bamford’s first half strike sealing the points. The win put the Northern side at top of the table in the Championship, with 75 points. Nearest rivals Bournemouth could only draw 1-1 with play-off hopefuls Ipswich, whilst Watford missed out on the chance to go top with a 2-2 draw at fellow promotion chasers Derby. The failures of both Bournemouth and Watford to seize their chance to take top spot extends Middlesbrough’s time at the top until at least Monday.
Norwich were the only side in the top six to win yesterday – they overcame Brighton 0-1 at the Amex. Play-off positions also changed hands – Brentford thumped London rivals Fulham 1-4 at Craven Cottage, whilst Wolves all but ended Nottingham Forest’s hopes of making the play-offs as Wolves ran out 1-2 winners at the City Ground.
Boro’s next game could decide the outcome of the season – they play Watford at Vicarage Road in the game of the day in the Championship. With this in mind, the away side will hope that Bamford’s recent form will continue long enough to secure a huge win.
Bamford has now scored 18 goals so far in this campaign for the Teesiders – that are managed by Mourinho’s ex-assistant at Real Madrid Aitor Karanka.
At present, after 40 games, the top of the Championship table is incredibly tight:
1. Middlesbrough – 75 points
2. Bournemouth – 74 points
3. Norwich – 73 points
4. Watford – 73 points
5. Brentford – 69 points
6. Derby – 68 points
7. Ipswich – 68 points
8. Wolves – 68 points (Nottingham Forest are 9th, but with 57 points)
With this season giving us the tightest and most intense Championship promotion race seen in years, Bamford’s form may prove crucial if the Riverside team are to be playing in the Premier League next season.