Click here to read on Ipswich’s turnaround
Click here to read about Southampton’s incredible rise

It has been an exceptional start to the season for Middlesbrough, equalling a club record run of ten games unbeaten at the start of a league campaign. It was only achieved once before in the club’s history back in 1910. Itai??i??s the clubs 3rd season in the championship and there seems to be a real determination in the side to not let this season go to waste and come May, to be up there in the mix with something to play for.

Tony Mowbray has deployed a fluid 3-5-2 formation in a majority of games so far this season. Helping three centre-backs are the wing backs Justin Hoyte and Joe Bennett, who have plenty of pace to get up and down the flanks. Nicky Bailey stays deep organising the team, covering for his teammates when they drift out of position. Goalkeeper Carl Ikeme – on loan from Wolves – hasnai??i??t put a foot wrong, doing a great job covering for Jason Steele, who is coming back from a wrist injury he did in pre season.

The formation suits Middlesbrough away from home more. The wing backs get forward and Barry Robson regularly bursts forward from midfield. With the two forwards Scott McDonald and Marvin Emnes, there is a lot of pace in the team to counter attack to good effect. Middlesbrough have played some great attacking football so far this season enabling Nicky Bailey and young Boro and England U21 player Joe Bennett to score their first goals for club away at Burnley.

At home, and using the same formation, the team have struggled at times to break down the opposition and depending on the opposition, Boro may need to tweak it at times. The last two home games against two of the better teams in the championship, Ipswich and Leicester have both finished in 0-0 draws. Both games were entertaining with some attacking football and could have gone either way with both sides having good chances to nick the win. Although a win would have been ideal, it was important that the team didnai??i??t lose these two games and looked solid at the back, thus extending the run of consecutive cleansheets to 5. These are games that Boro would have lost last season, which goes to show the big improvements that Mowbray has brought on his return to Middlesbrough.

Since Tony Mowbray took over in October last year, it has been a remarkable turnaround. Towards the back end of last season, Boro went on a great run meaning the team are now actually unbeaten in their last 14 championship games having lost just one in 23 and are unbeaten in seven away games including a club record run of six wins on the bounce going back into the last campaign.

With the sale of Leroy Lita to Swansea and Kris Boydai??i??s move to Turkey, Boro were relying on Marvin Emnes and Scott McDonald to score the goals. Tony Mowbray gave Emnes the number 9 shirt for the new campaign and he has been in great form, getting off the mark in the opening game of season, scoring his first hat-trick in England away to Walsall in the cup. His finishing is improving and he certainly has been more clinical in front of goal early in the season. He fully deserved the Championship player of month for August as a reward for his fine form.

Forgotten the beaten feeling - The Riverside Stadium

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Last week, the teamai??i??s fine form was acknowledged with the announcement that Boroai??i??s Matthew Bates was Player of the Month and Tony Mowbray the Manager of the Month in September. Being the only team left in the championship to be unbeaten, it was a deserved award for Tony Mowbray. Matthew Bates, the teamai??i??s captain, has been great at the back making some crucial interceptions. Also worthy of a mention are Nicky Bailey and Barry Robson who have played key roles in the side and Rhys Williams whose versatility has seen him deliver key performances in midfield and more recently in the heart of the defence.

With Boro breaking some great records with Tony Mowbray in charge and with the weekend games coming up, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this side break another record and go 11 games unbeaten at the start of a league campaign. And what an achievement that would be for the club. Now that Middlesbrough has the right man in charge who gives youth a chance and if team can stay injury free it has every chance of being a promotion contender and of being a match for any side in the championship.

It was this month last year when Tony was appointed Middlesbrough manager and he has done a fantastic job under difficult circumstances – losing players and having very little money to bring new players in. What he has done is bring in some useful free transfers in Belgium international Faris Haroun and French player Malaury Martin, who was at Blackpool last season.

Another two-week international break is nearly over which brings the team back to the league campaign to build on a great start to the season. It has been good looking at the table with team sitting in 2nd place but it is important Boro donai??i??t let this good start go to waste and perhaps, lift themselves to the Championship summit.

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Written by guest author Claire Bowdler

You can follow the author on twitter @cbstar82

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