We face the greatest challenge - Monk
Manager Garry Monk insists the Championship continues to be the most competitive and challenging of divisions.
Boro are visiting Aston Villa this evening aiming to build upon their first away triumph in over a year against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend.
Meanwhile, their latest opponents failed to make an immediate Premier League return last season following relegation and are currently eighteenth in the table.
"There are so many teams who can compete at the high end of the table," Monk admitted to the Northern Echo. "You're talking 12, 13, 14 teams at the start of each season who can realistically gain promotion. You name me any other league in the world that can do that.
"And every game is so competitive. You have to do a lot to win games," he continued. "But it's good. It's exciting. It's challenging. It's an excellent league, and we enjoy it, but we take each game as it comes and improve on the last one."