Middlesbrough are currently third in the Championship table and if they remain in that spot or better after the busy Christmas period, everyone involved at the club will be delighted.
Three points on Saturday as Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Teesside would be another step in the right direction as they push to get back into the Premier League, as well as sending out a message to their title rivals.
Last weekend saw Boro eventually run out winners against Peterborough at London Road, but they certainly made it tougher than it should have been.
With a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes, Boro appeared to be cruising to victory, but a spirited fightback saw Posh pull it back to two apiece early in the second half.
Following a 3-2 defeat to Birmingham City in their previous game and a 3-1 thumping at home to Bristol City only a couple of fixtures ago, Tony Mowbray’s side could have quite easily caved in and suffered another heartbreaking loss.
However, an Ishmael Miller strike 15 minutes from time gave Middlesbrough a precious three points and that display of character suggests that they are up for the promotion fight.
With that in mind, a bet on Boro at 19/20 to pick up maximum points looks to be the way to go for Wolves’ visit to Riverside.
Admittedly, as with the majority of matches in this extremely hard-fought league, Saturday’s fixture will not be an easy one as Stale Solbakken’s men will provide stiff opposition.
The side from Molineux were on a dreadful run of nine matches without a win, but having recorded back-to-back successes over Bristol City and Birmingham, the Old Gold will fancy their chances of toppling Boro.
bwin has the visitors priced as 31/10 outsiders for the win, with the draw on offer at odds of 21/10 for punters who sense a stalemate.
Solbakken will most definitely look for his side to keep it tight early on and stay in the game for as long as possible, so I cannot see there being a goalfest in the first half.
Boro have been ahead at half-time four times in ten league matches at the Riverside this campaign and on each occasion it has been a 1-0 lead, so a bet on a repeat here looks a viable option at 3/1.
New customers can claim a free £20 bet when they register with bwin and lumping it on Boro to be 1-0 up at the interval would see you win £80 if successful.
Alternatively, considering 80% of matches at the Riverside have contained three or more goals and each of Wolves’ last three away games have also fallen into this category, over 2.5 goals is worthy of some investment at 18/25.
However, I will be keeping it simple and getting on Boro to continue their assault on the automatic promotion places at that decent-looking price of 19/20.