Jonathan Woodgate believes former Manchester United prospect Paddy McNair could be the difference in Boro’s bid to move themselves away from the Championship trap door.
McNair netted a late penalty against Forest last night to earn Middlesbrough an away 1-1 draw – much to the delight of Woodgate.
McNair had missed last weekends win against Charlton but his return to first team action had a huge impact on the teams performance.
Formally a full back, the Northern Irishman has been relishing playing further forward as a winger under Woodgate.
Woodgate, whose future at the Riverside remains under the spotlight, was singing McNair’s praises after the game.
He said: “Paddy is pivotal, he could be the difference in us moving up the table.
“Paddy (McNair) has that quality, doesn’t he. I was always confident he (McNair) would score.”
After last night’s result Boro currently sit 20th in the table – in much improved form earning eight points from a possible 15.
Woodgate puts the recent form down to his sides ability to be able to dig in and score late goals.
He added: “We have come back from behind a few times this season, away from home in particular it’s a sign of our character”.
“This is a good point, against a good team with some top players. They have a good bench as well.”
Woodgate’s work is not done, Boro are only four points above the relegation zone and are yet to pick up a win on their travels.
The Middlesbrough boss was just happy that his tactical shift to push his team forward to nullify the Forest wing-backs Cash and Robinson came off.
He explained: “In the first half their full backs (Cash and Robinson) were bombing on and had real threat.
“We changed things around, pushed up and the second half was much better.”
Boro have a tough run of fixtures, Woodgate will be looking for Paddy McNair & C0. to step up and kick on at home to Swansea at the weekend, before a duo of relegation six-pointers against Stoke and Huddersfield.