It took Boro 81 minutes on Tuesday night before they were able to pick the lock of Coventry's stubborn backline, as a defence-splitting pass from Sam Morsy put Britt Assombalonga through on goal to score his first of the season.
Boro then made certain of the three points when Djed Spence stole in to round the keeper and finish to help the Smoggies climb to within touching distance of the playoff places.
That is now three wins and four draws in the last seven for Boro and manager Neil Warnock will be pleased that his side are now starting to play the way he wishes them to - hard to break down and ruthless in front of goal.
Warnock will also be pleased that Assombalonga made it on to the scoresheet, as Boro's skipper will surely play a pivotal role in whether they can mount a serious promotion challenge. Assombalonga also becomes Middlesbrough's leading goalscorer of the millennium with 43 goals.
Boro will now look to secure back-to-back home wins and their first win against Forest since April 2018.
Forest continued their unbeaten run under Hughton in midweek but will feel aggrieved that they didn't come away with more than a point, having controversially gone down to 10 men just before half time.
Despite their disadvantage, Forest levelled through a Glen Rea own goal, after the same player had put Luton ahead in the first half. It was Rea's first goals, at either end, in over two years.
Despite their upturn in form, Forest still sit in 20th place in the Championship table, and will be very aware of how hard it will be to drag themselves away from the relegation zone.
After the trip to Boro, Hughton and his men face two must-win games at home to fellow strugglers Coventry City and Wycombe Wanderers, before they travel to Barnsley and high-flying Bournemouth.
Middlesbrough Championship form: DWDWDW
Nottingham Forest Championship form: LLLWDDD
Aside from Ioannou's omission, Forest showed enough resolve against Luton to persuade Hughton to stick to the same lineup as they go in search of their first away win of the season.
Positive news arrived on Friday morning as Chuba Akpom tested negative for COVID-19, meaning that Warnock will need to decide whether the lively Patrick Roberts will once again partner Assombalonga, or if Akpom is preferred over the Manchester City loanee.
Dael Fry will be assessed after a nasty clash of heads had threatened to end the former England Under-21 star's night early in the second half in the win over the Sky Blues.
Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair; Howson; Spence, Morsy, Saville, Tavernier; Roberts, Assombalonga
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Christie, McKenna, Figueiredo, Blackett; Yates, Colback; Knockaert, Lolley, Ameobi; Grabban
We say: Middlesbrough 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Warnock seems to be finding ways to transform draws into wins at present, and we see the Smoggies continuing their strong run against a Forest side that are yet to truly click under new management. This will be a closely contested matchup, but we expect Boro to come through with a narrow win.