Following a November defeat at home to Preston North End, Chris Wilder has got his Middlesbrough side back on track as they look for a play-off place in the Championship.
Boro currently sit in ninth position in the second tier and that’s thanks to four matches unbeaten – three of those being wins and the latest one was a big one against second-placed AFC Bournemouth.
Wilder is set to be backed in the upcoming January transfer window despite Neil Warnock bringing in a number of new players over the summer – although there’s the belief that some of those were not his additions but that of director of football Kieran Scott.
Quiz: Have Middlesbrough signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
What decisions could Wilder need to make though as the mid-season window looms? Let’s look at two that may be in his thoughts in the coming days and weeks.
Sell or keep Ikpeazu?
Having only arrived from Wycombe Wanderers in July, Uche Ikpeazu could already be on the move away from the Riverside next month.
The 26-year-old had a number of starts under Warnock’s management but he’s found minutes harder to come by since Wilder took charge – despite appearing in every match they have all been cameo appearances.
Millwall have been linked over the weekend with a January move for the target man by The Sun on Sunday (December 19, page 69) and he could be an ideal fit for the Lions as a younger alternative for Matt Smith.
With Boro being linked with a move for a number of strikers next month – one of those being Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun – it appears that Ikpeazu may not be needed so Wilder may be fine with letting him go.
Cash in on McNair?
Middlesbrough will not want to lose any of their best players in January, but the links have already come for two of their top stars.
Dael Fry is being courted by Premier League clubs but also Paddy McNair is said to be wanted by Scottish giants Celtic and also West Ham United.
A graduate of the Manchester United academy, the 26-year-old, who is comfortable playing at centre-back or in the engine room, has been a star performer for the last few years for the Teessiders so it’s no surprise to see him attract interest.
Wilder doesn’t want McNair to leave but this recent interest could be somewhat of a head-turner – with a contract running until 2024 though Boro are in a strong position and it would take a major offer to even consider letting the Northern Ireland international go.