8:00am Thursday 13th February 2014
By Steph Clark
DANNY GRAHAM believes it is only a matter of time before Middlesbrough end their goal drought and the striker believes wide men Mustapha Carayol and Albert Adomah could hold the key to the ending his own barren spell in front of goal.
Boro’s goalless draw at home to Blackburn on Saturday stretched their run without scoring to 444 minutes with the Teessiders last finding the back of the net in the 16th minute of their 1-0 over Charlton Athletic almost one month ago.
Since then, the gap to the play-offs has widened from five to eight points and although the Boro camp is refusing to accept their chances of a top-six finish are over, another purple patch needs to arrive soon.
The same could be said for Graham, who sealed his return to the Riverside on deadline day. The Gateshead-born striker has endured a difficult year having returned figures of only one goal in the whole of 2013, but he feels he is in the right place to get his career back on track.
During Saturday’s draw, Aitor Karanka’s men had 15 shots and 16 corners against Rovers, while countless balls were delivered into the box by Carayol and George Friend.
The Gambian-born winger shone on the left side of midfield and Graham admits having him on one side and Albert Adomah on the other, is a striker’s dream.
“Muzzy was a joy to play with,” Graham said. “I knew very little about him apart from a couple of games I’d seen on the TV, but to see it in the flesh was great for me.
GETTING BACK: New Boro striker Danny Graham needs to work on his match fitness
“It’s great for any forward that sees a left winger going at a full-back and knowing he’s going to beat him time and time again. If it wasn’t for Paul Robinson having a great game we could have won that game quite easily.
“It’s a striker’s dream to have two flying wingers who can put the ball in the box and score goals themselves. Albert’s got close to ten goals already. It’s great for the team and the sooner we get him flying the better it will be for all of us.”
Graham returns to former club Watford at the weekend, where he spent two seasons before getting his big move to the Premier League.
The 28-year-old knows all about the Championship from his time at Vicarage Road and hopes Middlesbrough can be the surprise package in the final two-and-a-half months of the season.
He said: “We’ve seen it time and time again. There’s always someone that makes a late push and they go on to do well in the play-offs because of the momentum they’ve built up.
“Hopefully that can be us this year, but we need to start picking up results sooner rather than later. We can sit and talk about it all week, but we need to do the talking on the pitch and hopefully that can start on Saturday.
“We were close at Watford even though we were tipped for relegation at the start of the season, which was a strange one, but we need to be 100 per cent on the ball and keep plugging away. We haven’t scored in four games so everyone just needs to put that at the back of their minds and concentrate on doing the right things. Then the goals will come.”
Graham made his second Boro debut at the weekend and managed 82 minutes despite a lack of game time recently and the forward remains confident he can start firing once he improves his sharpness.
“I’m fit, but I wouldn’t say I’m 100 per cent match fit yet,” Graham revealed. “I hadn’t played since Boxing Day and I hadn’t trained at all for ten days before I came here.
“The plan on Saturday was for me to play 60 minutes, but that sharp changed. I felt fine though. I don’t know if that was the adrenaline of being back at the Riverside, but certainly the more games I play the sharper I’ll get.”
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