The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Peter Fine

WHO needs Jor­dan Rhodes? Not Mid­dles­brough. Not on this ev­i­dence any­way.

Af­ter talk of an un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt to lure Rhodes from Black­burn on loan with a view to a per­ma­nent sum­mer switch dom­i­nated the build-up to this clash, Boro kept up their pur­suit of pro­mo­tion in style.

Pa­trick Bamford, play­ing centrally, de­liv­ered a deadly sec­ond-half dou­ble, adding to first-half goals from Daniel Ayala and Al­bert Adomah af­ter Daryl Mur­phy’s equaliser to put a se­ri­ous dent in Ip­swich’s own play-off hopes.

And Mid­dles­brough boss Ai­tor Karanka said: “Pa­trick de­serves those goals for his work-rate and he showed great con­fi­dence in the way he took both of them.

“It was mas­sive to win, we needed a per­for­mance and I thought we were bril­liant against a good, strong team. To be eight points ahead of them is a good sit­u­a­tion for us.

“I said be­fore­hand I don’t want to talk about play­ers from other teams. We moved Pa­trick up front and I was pleased with how it worked, Pa­trick is the kind of player who needs to score to be con­fi­dent.

“It’s good for him and the team. We’ve played against a strong team who fin­ished the game with four strik­ers and the main thing is that we’re eight points ahead of them.

“We had a good week on the train­ing ground and I knew I could ex­pect a per­for­mance like this. We’re a team who needs to work on the train­ing ground to help our con­fi­dence.”

Mid­dles­brough head to ti­tle ri­vals Derby on Tues­day and then Bournemouth next Satur­day, so it was viewed on Teesside as es­sen­tial that they col­lected max­i­mum points against Ip­swich.

While Karanka was sat­is­fied with the re­sult, Mick McCarthy was frus­trated that his team had missed an op­por­tu­nity to close the gap on one of the lead­ing con­tenders for au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

McCarthy said: “We worked on de­fend­ing cor­ners and con­ceded two goals from them.We were great in the first half and in the sec­ond half we were un­done by a re­ally good goal by Pa­trick Bamford; it’s great play by him.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

W-AY TO GO! Daniel Ayala scores the first goal for Mid­dles­brough

THREE ‘N EASY: Pa­trick Bamford rounds the keeper for Mid­dles­brough’s third goal

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