We travel to the Riverside on Tuesday with the Teesiders reaping the benefit from the talents of Boudewijn Zenden and Gaizka Mendieta in midfield and a solid defensive line including the twin towers of Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu.
Ehiogu has returned from a spell out injured, Zenden has shone of late having been moved centrally and Mendieta remains one of the best midfielders around on his day.
Coach Chris reasoned: "They went through a long period of being a very good defensive side and didn't concede many goals.
"I think over the last few weeks they have conceded goals but they remain very well organised.
"Their season has been similar to ours, very patchy and their argument would be that they would want to be more consistent.
"But there is no doubt they have quality in the team and on any given occasion they can produce.
"They are a good outfit and looking at the individuals they've got, Zenden and Mendieta are quality players, Juninho and looking at the Birmingham game, they left out two or three and I'm sure they'll be back to face us."
Chris Hughton warns that Middlesbrough have the quality to go out and win games on any given occasion.