Tony Mowbray has targeted 12 points from Middlesbrough’s next four matches, despite starting the sequence without the reinforcements he wanted.
Boro entertain Huddersfield Town tonight, the start of an October programme which also features matches at home to Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers, sandwiching a trip to Barnsley.
The Teessiders are winless in their last seven matches. It has left them just four points and four places above the early-season relegation zone.
“In the next four games we have to try and target maximum points,” said Mowbray. “That’s easier said than done of course.
“Against Huddersfield and Yeovil we have to be better than we were on Saturday (when Boro lost 2-0 at Queens Park Rangers).
“We’ve drawn a lot of games this season and we have to turn those draws into wins starting this week.”
Mowbray had targeted some signings in time for tonight, and came extremely close to one.
“It’s something that we’re trying to address at the moment,” he said.
“There’s one or two players out of contract who were released from their clubs before the last window shut that we could potentially look at.
“With the international break coming up hopefully we might have added to our ranks to help the defensive situation and try to resolve those issues.”
Boro agreed a loan signing last week, only for his club to have a last-minute change of heart.
“It was all done and agreed with the manager,” Mowbray explained.
“But I received a call 15 minutes later saying they had picked up an injury in training and they were now going to keep him as cover. We took a shirt down with the lad’s name on the back and a number registered with the FA so that’s how close it was to getting done.”
Mowbray was unhappy with Saturday’s performance at Loftus Road, which prompted a frank exchange of words between his players during the post-match warm-down.
“It was disappointing, particularly the first half,” Mowbray reflected.
“We didn’t perform in the first half and I think the team know they fell well below the standard they set themselves.
“There was a slight improvement second half but not enough. We have got some problems defensively.
“It was an unacceptable performance in the first half, a bad day, a disappointing day, probably as poor as we’ve been this season.
“We had a lot of average-looking players on the pitch and we need a reaction, we need to resolve the issues that are there. We fell short.
“We talked about a game-plan of frustrating them early on and then getting our passing going and creating an opportunity.”
Nunthorpe-born defender Ben Gibson thinks Boro should be glad tonight’s game has come around so quickly. “Nobody likes hanging about and talking about these things, you just want to put them into practice, especially after Saturday’s result, we can’t wait until Tuesday to put it right, and sort of correct everything we did wrong on Saturday,” said the 20-year-old, who was making his full debut.
Gibson also felt it was a positive that the players aired their grievances with one another pretty quickly.
“That was just the boys talking about the game, what we could have done individually and as a team, that’s good,” said of the warm-down.
“It’s good to have some raised voices. We’ve got a set of lads that are very strong together and they do care.
“A test of our character would be now, and how we do respond to that, we’re lucky we have the Tuesday game because we’ll go straight into that.
“I’ve seen both changing rooms, one with loads of characters with opinions, and one that’s a bit quieter. The dressing room I’m in now is one I’d prefer to be in by a country mile. We’ve got a lot of good leaders and we’re aiming to turn it around on Tuesday night.”