Tony Mowbray backed to return Middlesbrough to winning ways

Tony Mowbray goes into his first game as Middlesbrough manager tomorrow with chief executive Keith Lamb backing him to bring the good times back to the Riverside Stadium.

The former West Brom and Celtic manager, a boyhood Boro supporter and a fans' favourite on Teesside in his playing days, was appointed to the Boro hotseat on Tuesday with the team lying 22nd in the npower Championship as they prepare to host fellow strugglers Bristol City.

And Lamb told the club website: "We have to acknowledge that things haven't gone as anyone would have wished. We need to bring the fans back and what's going to do that? Excitement, winning football matches and playing football the right way.

"If you look at Tony's record, he satisfies all those criteria and (chairman) Steve Gibson and I believe he's the man best suited to take us in the direction we want to go."

Crystal Palace, the team sandwiched between Boro and City in the relegation zone, take on a third-placed Swansea side hoping to welcome back defender Ashley Williams.

The Swans will also hope for a chance to increase the pressure on Welsh rivals Cardiff and league leaders QPR, who host Norwich and Burnley respectively.

Rs defender Matthew Connolly expects a tough game, but has urged his side to remain focused on themselves as they bid to hold off the Bluebirds at the summit.

He told QPR Player: "Burnley are a good side, they've got good players and they've been in the Premier League so it's a very difficult game, but every game's hard in the Championship.

"We need to win our games, Cardiff are playing fantastically but if we win our games we will be top of the league."

Watford and Coventry currently occupy the other play-off places, in between the Canaries and Clarets.

The Hornets were beaten 2-0 by Scunthorpe last week, but keeper Scott Loach maintained: "If anybody had said that we'd be fifth after 13 games I think people would have bitten your arm off.

"We've got Derby and Forest up next and hopefully we can put things right against them."

Coventry face Sheffield United with midfielder Aron Gunnarsson looking to add to his early-season goal haul.

He said: "The manager (Adrian Boothroyd) has said he would like to see 15 goals out of me and I know from midfield it might seem a lot, but I've got three already and if I can get another five then anything is possible."

Among the chasing pack Reading, in eighth, host 11th-placed Doncaster, who have lost star striker Billy Sharp for six weeks with a hamstring injury.

Ninth-placed Millwall travel to Ipswich and in-form Portsmouth host 10th-placed Nottingham Forest - while even Scunthorpe and Leeds, 15th and 16th respectively ahead of their Glanford Park meeting, are only three points adrift of the top seven.

Leicester host Preston, while Hull travel to Barnsley for the evening game.

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