The pre-season title favourites in each division of the Football League – Middlesbrough, Southampton and Bradford – have all made absolutely hideous starts to the campaign, however it’s Boro’s malaise which is looking the least terminal.
Gordon Strachan’s side picked up their second win of the season with a last-minute goal against Burnley in midweek but were far more comfortable against Reading yesterday as they recorded successive victories for the first time since April.
Barry Robson fired the Teessiders in front after just 22 seconds and they never looked in any real danger of relinquishing the lead, eventually enjoying a 3-1 triumph on a day that got underway with news that they were losing assistant manager Gary McAllister to Aston Villa.
Boro still have plenty of work to do before justifying the hype they received this summer though, and their poor opening has left them a hefty nine points behind unbeaten leaders QPR.
The outcome of their next match, away to Watford, should help establish whether Middlesbrough’s recent form is just a flash in the pan, or if they could yet justify odds of 12/1 to win the Championship, as they have never won three in a row under Strachan.
The Hornets produced arguably the result of the season so far by thumping Millwall 6-1 at the New Den this weekend yet are without a win in four home games.
Malky Mackay’s men are surprisingly occupying a play-off berth at the moment but are 40/1 to finish first. See the full Npower Championship 2010/11 Betting Odds market.