However, Agnew takes inspiration from the exploits of Sunderland and another of his former clubs, Leicester City, following their miraculous escape the season before they won the top-flight title, as precedents he is confident that Middlesbrough can follow.
Averaging 2.4 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game in a sturdy and pragmatic Middlesbrough midfield, Clayton's work rate and consistency would surely have seen him play a major role in The Whites' attempts to reclaim their Premier League status.
He said: "If you asked the other teams 'Are Middlesbrough one of the three worst teams in the league?', I don't suppose many would say we are".
However, as the midfielder turns his attention to the latest in a series of must-win games at Bournemouth on Saturday, the 28-year-old is refusing to accept relegation despite the club being without a league victory since December 17.
'You are always tested against the top teams and that's who we faced'.
He said: "I couldn't be more proud of the group of players, they gave every ounce of energy over 94 minutes".
"We had to start by getting the three points".
"Of course it's going to be a hard run but we're up for the challenge", Ramsey told Arsenal's official website. This is the toughest league there is, but we will keep grafting. "And the gap hasn't been getting any bigger although we've now reached a stage where we have to win". We're convinced one win will change it all.
"Now we just have to come out on the right side in the next few games".
"Even when we conceded the second we still had chances when the ball went into the box".