Ipswich v Middlesbrough: Tommy Smith doubled his goal tally for the season, then paid tribute to the Blues’ new strike heroes, as Town romped to a 4-0 victory over Middlesbrough, at Portman Road, on Saturday.

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The New Zealand international scored in both halves with bullet headers and added to David McGoldrick and Aaron Mclean’s first goals for the club.

McGoldrick scored with a long-range second-half strike, after Smith’s opener, before Mclean got in on the act as Tony Mowbray’s dire Teesiders were blitzed by the brilliant Blues.

Town jumped above Wolves and Bolton with victory, remaining four points clear of the drop-zone, and Smith heralded the work of Mick McCarthy’s latest hitmen for paving the way to victory.

“Our victory started with the front two and they worked so hard to stop Middlesbrough playing. They are a good team but we nullified their threat,” said Smith, who spoke to the media shortly after receiving a phone call of congratulations from club owner Marcus Evans.

“David scored a great goal, while I was speaking to Aaron before the game and told him that if he maintained his work-rate of the last two games then he would get that bit of luck.

“The deflection helped him out but he thoroughly deserved the goal.”

Apart from one second-half effort from Boro’s Grant Leadbitter, Town were rarely troubled by a team whose play-off charge is rapidly disintegrating.

Instead, the Blues, without manager Mick McCarthy – who was on his sick bed – were able to canter to three points, inspired by Smith’s double header, his third and fourth goals of the season.

“That’s my first double in senior football and it’s important that all areas of the team contribute. As defenders, we have scored quite a few between us this season,” said the 22-year-old, clutching the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award.

“I always fancy myself from set-pieces, I have scored a few before so I am always confident that I can do it again.

“Myself and Luke (Chambers) try and alternate who attacks the near post, we try and attack areas and when the ball came to me, I just did the best I could.

“The gaffer has been talking to us recently about winning more headers from set-pieces, and it looks like we are doing that.”

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