They find themselves in the Championship relegation zone, although jonathan Woodgate has been appointed to revitalise Middlesbrough. Whats gone wrong?
We requested Teesside Live journalist Dominic Shaw, EFL pundit Don Goodman about the Sky Sports EFL Podcast and Boro fanzine (Fly Me To The Moon) writer Robert Nichols their thoughts on the situation in the Riverside Stadium…
Dominic Shaw: There was an endorsement from the away that this was likely to become a season of patience and change was required, but nobody anticipated to be in this place at this point.
The Achilles heels in the last year remains there. Woodgate wants to alter the manner Boro drama and proceed away from the pragmatism of Tony Pulis but I do not think he had been expecting it to be quite difficult to do that as its proved.
Don Goodman: Confidence is on the ground. Theyve wanted to perform this more football this season and thus far they have struggled to convert that to outcomes.
Its about them finding a way to win a match of football, although last year they were strong willed. So as to do that they have got to find a way. It is about getting the balance right, but its also about getting the result in any way you can.
Robert Nichols: Many, including Tony Pulis, point the finger and the whole parachute obligations on a quick return to the Premier League. It has been such a tough season for Boro fans. There may have been frustrations over the playing fashion under Pulis but we were pushing for advertising not threatening relegation.
Our failings are simple for all to see, not least opposing managers and admittedly we havent had the best of luck although jonathan Woodgate might love to assert that the table lies. We struggle to score goals, an old issue which has elicited style that is big. Pair that up with an inability to keep clean sheets youve got a recipe for disaster.
DS: The group is unbalanced and thin. They could have done with a couple of extra players. Woodgate shot over a squad which dropped Aden Flint, Stewart Downing, Martin Braithwaite and John Obi Mikel, while Mo Besic and advance duo Jordan Hugill returned into their clubs.
Boro had to cut costs and those gamers were substituted by three kids who spent in League One. That is not to say hes blameless, although this was always going to be a difficult make-over job for Woodgate. Hell hold up his hands and say hes made mistakes but his players have been now playing and performances of late have been improved.
DG: If you take a look at this team player for player, surely the heart 15-16 players from the squad, they have top quality in this level within that plus a great deal of experience, so it is a bit baffling at the way its gone so disastrously wrong.
RN: Convenience is reduced and there are further storm clouds on the horizon as nearly half the team are out of contract and will be provided terms to stay. Not excellent for morale.
Jonathan Woodgate earned three rookies out of League One to rip this up. The new promised assaulting; design that is harrying has floundered. Injuries have decreased the playing team that was wafer-thin to the point where we needed to recall a loan striker Tyrone ONeill from non-league Darlington. Times are hard.
DS: He will. Nobody expected Boro to be in this place at this point and the winless run needs to be stopped. But theres little doubt to the gamers from speaking who Woodgate has them. Performances have enhanced following the showings against Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday. However, Boro – Woodgate – need success. Thats the games currency. That is known by him.
Hell argue his side need to start placing the ball. I know that sounds simplistic and there are other issues to deal with but Boro are currently overlooking chances – sitters – every week. The change to your system has worked and Boro look more comfortable and balanced. But displays need to begin coughing up points and wins.
DG: They may not have been hoping to challenge at the surface of this Championship, but they certainly wouldnt have been hoping to happen to be at a dogfight down at the bottom. If they will escape this itll be at home where they need to pick up points that are better.
There are a few big games but theyve got Charlton, Barnsley and Hull coming up at the Riverside. They will need to flip it.
RN: As you could imagine Boro lovers are losing patience fast, yet there is also a feeling of not wanting axe another supervisor and to repeat errors.
Wed prefer a period of expansion and stability beneath Woodgate but we surely cannot risk the prospect of relegation and also the idea of joining Sunderland at League One. We have to begin winning and these subsequent two back to back home games can be make or break.