Middlesbrough go fifth and heap more misery on managerless Sunderland

Steve Gibson’s pre-season pledge to “smash the Championship” has rung a little hollow in recent weeks but, little by little, Middlesbrough are starting to suggest promotion may be possible after all.

At the end of an afternoon on which Marcus Tavernier’s early goal kept managerless Sunderland stuck to the bottom of the table, Garry Monk’s side rose to fifth. It was Boro’s third win in eight days; perhaps their owner’s boast was not quite as widely optimistic as latterly advertised.

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