Middlesbrough are running out of time to close the gap on the top six and anything but a win against Swansea City this afternoon would be another blow to their play-off hopes.
Just one point from their last four games has seen the Teessiders slide down the Championship table and put their promotion dreams at risk.
Chris Wilder‘s side have a game in hand over many of the sides in the play-off race but are three points and three places back from sixth-placed Sheffield United.
Today’s game at the Swansea.com Stadium is a big one for them and looks set to be a tough test given things are really starting to click under Russell Martin.
The Swans are unbeaten in their last seven games – winning four of those – and could move to within a point of Boro with a win.
Ahead of the Swansea clash, we’ve highlighted two dilemmas facing Wilder…
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Who starts up top
Boro’s lack of a consistent goalscorer has been an issue throughout the season – with no player reaching double figures and January loan arrivals Aaron Connolly and Flo Balogun scoring just five between them.
Goalscoring has been a particular problem during their recent poor run as the Teessiders have failed to find the net in their last four games, and it’s something that will need to be put right as soon as possible.
Wilder has regularly switched things around in the forward line in search of the ideal combination and he faces a dilemma over who to start against the Swans this afternoon.
He’s certainly not short of options, with Andraz Sporar, Duncan Watmore, Josh Coburn, Connolly, and Balogun all to choose from, but ensuring the right players get the nod could be vital.
How to stop Swansea nullifying them through dominance of possession
No Championship team has averaged more possession than the Swans this term (63.9%) with Martin’s ideology starting to take full effect in South Wales.
Not only does it allow them control of the game, but it also nullifies and frustrates their opponents – something that Wilder will be determined to avoid this afternoon.
What tactical or personnel changes he makes to attempt to counteract it remains to be seen but there’s no doubt that it’s a dilemma and one that coaches will continue to face as Swansea continue to grow in confidence under Martin.