After a strong start to the season, Middlesbrough have seemed to hit a bit of a rocky patch of form that could threaten to derail their campaign.
Boro had lost just one of their first 11 games under the leadership of Neil Warnock, but since then there has been four defeats in six matches, including a late collapse against Preston last time out.
Warnock had built his team based on a solid defence but that seems to have faded away in recent weeks, and reinforcements may be required in January to inject a bit of freshness into the line-up.
But a few of the current squad should probably feel worried going into the January window – there won’t be significant departures due to the size of the squad but let’s look at two players who are perhaps playing for their Boro futures in the next few weeks.
The former Sunderland winger signed a short-term deal with Boro last month after an injury-hit final few years with the Black Cats.
Watmore made a real impact against Swansea a couple of weeks ago, netting a brace in a 2-1 victory and can play in all positions at the top of the pitch, making him a good squad player for Warnock to use.
But his long-term future isn’t exactly set in stone, even though you’d expect him to get an extension to his current deal. A few more good performances may be needed to convince Warnock to keep Watmore for the rest of the season, so the pressure is on him to prove himself further.
Wing was a key player in Jonathan Woodgate’s reign as manager, but has found chances hard to come by under Warnock.
He’s made just one start in the league this season and has been restricted to cameo appearances off the bench, and if anyone looks likely to depart the Riverside in January, it’s him.
He has George Saville, Sam Morsy and Jonny Howson all in-front of him in the pecking order, and if he wants regular game-time he may have to depart Boro.