Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray is looking for greater defensive resilience as he attempts to drag the club clear of trouble.
Boro have not kept a clean sheet in their last five games and conceded 11 goals in the process, several of them at the death, in the wake of David Wheater's departure for Bolton and Matthew Bates' hamstring injury.
Mowbray said: "When you look at the balance of the squad, I don't think we have a goalscoring midfield player in the squad so the balance of the midfield week in, week out has been defensive, the set-up of the team has been defensive."
His side head for Reading on Saturday sitting just six points clear of the npower Championship drop zone and knowing they need to tighten up if they are to avoid the fight for survival below them.
Mowbray added: "Until David Wheater left and Matthew Bates got injured, defensively we were on average conceding a goal a game and I don't think the goals against column was anything to concern me.
"Since they have been out of the team, the goals against column does concern me, of course. You can't keep losing two or three goals in every game."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.