Promotion race wide open - Middlesbrough's Nicky Bailey

Nicky Bailey
Bailey joined Middlesbrough from Charlton in July 2010

Middlesbrough midfielder Nicky Bailey says the quality of clubs in the Championship will make for a closely contested promotion race this season.

Boro are third in the division, although just six points separate Ipswich in 10th with leaders Southampton after 11 games.

"There are some really good teams in this league," Bailey told BBC Tees.

"I don't think one team is going to run away with it, every team in this league can beat each other."

The 27-year-old added: "It's been really tight since the start, you've got to be on your game, or other teams will punish you."

Bailey defends Boro home form

Away from home Middlesbrough have been impressive, with four wins from five; while contrastingly at the Riverside they have recorded just one win, with five stalemates maintaining the club's unbeaten league run.

"Last couple of weeks if we had won we would have gone top, and we knew that before the game," Bailey added.

"We knew that there was a big game in Derby and Southampton playing each other, but we didn't get beaten again and we keep the run going but we don't want the draws, we want the three points."

Bailey joined Boro from Charlton in July 2010 after the Addick bowed out of the League One play-offs the previous season, and has since made 50 appearances, scoring once.

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