Stopper longs for top flight
IT IS safe to assume Sean St Ledger's move to Middlesbrough has not gone to plan. But the Republic of Ireland international is convinced he will be playing in the Premier League next season. St Ledger joins up with the Ireland squad tonight ahead of his country's World Cup play-off meetings with France after losing for the fifth time in a Boro shirt. The centre-back arrived in September when Boro were firmly in the shake up for the top two. Fortunes have changed, starting with a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of West Brom on his home debut, but the man on loan from Preston is still convinced he will be playing top flight football with Boro next term. People can get carried away by our position because we have dropped down to tenth but there are more than 30 games left, that's almost a Premier League season, so we can still go up in the top two, said St Ledger. Other teams will slip up, like we have, we just need to make sure we keep going. If we do that, we have enough characters to get out of this division. It's been a rollercoaster since I arrived at Middlesbrough. We have just been so inconsistent and it's been so frustrating. We have lost a few, won a couple, and drawn a couple. There's been no consistency. We have to improve on that. Since taking over from Gareth Southgate, manager Gordon Strachan has repeatedly suggested that it is up front which causes him the greatest concern. That will certainly not have changed after seeing his side fail to score in each of his first two matches in charge. He has hammered home the point in training all week. We have worked on crossing, shooting that kind of thing, said St Ledger. At half-time the manager had a word with us, but at the end he was philosophical. In a couple of days I'm sure he will have us watching the videos, telling us where it went wrong. From a personal point of view St Ledger turned in a positive display. It's not about playing well as an individual, it's about the team playing well, he said. That's the most important thing, but we came up short again. We had clear cut chances but we can't point the finger, just like defenders can concede goals, strikers can miss chances. At the moment we are struggling to claim three points. What we need to do is edge ourselves in front and defend for our lives. That's what the teams against us are doing.
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