Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll hailed Middlesbrough as a yardstick for his side after holding the in-form Teessiders to a goalless draw at the City Ground.

Boro were searching for a seventh straight victory but could count themselves fortunate to escape with a point as Reds striker Billy Sharp was denied by the woodwork late in the second half.

"This division is notoriously unpredictable, but Boro have been consistent in their results and their performances," O'Driscoll said. "They are a good benchmark for us, a side we would like to emulate.

"I suppose on chances created we should have won, but Boro have just won six on the spin. I saw them win at Sunderland (in the Capital One Cup) and they are a very good team. They didn't crack. There were times in the first half when I thought we would score, but they kept their composure and you have to give them some credit."

Sharp could have bagged a hat-trick as he was undoubtedly the hosts' biggest threat and came close on a number of occasions to breaking the deadlock.

"Once the floodgates open, he'll score a lot of goals," O'Driscoll added. "When he is on his game he is difficult to play against as he has been over the past three or four games.

"He's not one of those who plays poorly and scores goals, he is a constant threat. When the goals finally start coming he will be a great asset for us."

Middlesbrough first-team coach Mark Proctor deputised for boss Tony Mowbray, who is still suffering the effects of a virus, and although he saw his side's winning run come to an end, he was pleased with a point.

"We're delighted. We would have liked to have won the game, but this was our third straight away game and we looked a bit jaded," said Proctor, who had a stint at Forest as a player. "We were playing against a very good Forest team who have some good players. We always knew it would be a tough game for us.

"All in all there were opportunities at either end and a draw was probably the right result."