Having won eight of their last 11 Championship matches, you would have expected Middlesbrough to hold more than a two-point cushion inside the playoffs.
Nevertheless, it highlights the magnitude of the job that Chris Wilder is pulling off at the Riverside Stadium, and there is every sign that will continue in their bid for promotion.
For the first time since April, Boro scored more than two goals in a league fixture last weekend as they posted a 4-1 victory against Derby County.
Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Aaron Connolly was among the goalscorers as Boro recorded a sixth successive win in the North East, taking them to 32 points from 16 home fixtures this campaign.
All things considered, Middlesbrough have a relatively favourable schedule ahead of them, but Wilder is aware that complacency cannot become an issue if they want to return to the Premier League.
With Bristol City’s last six Championship wins coming at Ashton Gate, Middlesbrough will certainly not underestimate opponents who continue to perform inconsistently.
As has been well documented, the Robins are without back-to-back league wins this season, a run which was extended when they gave up a half-time lead at Swansea City last weekend.
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Conceding three times in South Wales made it 28 goals shipped in just 11 league games, and Bristol City are now only two goals short from having the worst defensive record in the division.
At a time when his side play three promotion contenders in succession, Nigel Pearson knows that he can ill-afford more defeats if he is to be kept at the helm for 2022-23.
On a positive note, Andreas Weimann has now reached 15 goals in the Championship this season, a total which is complemented with six assists.