A lot has been made of Chris Wilder’s rotation policy between his five strikers in Duncan Watmore, Andraz Sporar, Folarin Balogun, Aaron Connolly and Josh Coburn in recent months, without any of the quintet putting together a run of consistent starts or goalscoring.
The former Sheffield United manager opened up on his side’s frustrating displays in the final third when he spoke to The Northern Echo.
He said: “We’ve not done well enough at the top end of the pitch.
“There’s no getting away from that because we’ve had enough chances.
“I’m always a bit reluctant to chuck it all on the forwards because we do get into great positions.
“Look at the weekend – Marcus Tavernier has to score, Anfernee Dijksteel has to score.
“But ultimately, the pressure and the onus is on the centre-forwards to score, and all of them have had enough chances.
“They’ve all had enough game time and enough chances to come up with the goods, and it seems at times they’re just reluctant to really grab that opportunity and say, ‘It’s me’.
“That’s the reason why we keep flip-flopping from player to player.
“If they did grab that opportunity, then maybe they’d find themselves having more game time.”
Boro have a must-win game against Cardiff City this evening, and it will be interesting to see what duo Wilder selects in pushing for the three points.
Quiz: What club do these 25 players from the Middlesbrough 2016/17 squad play for now?
First the problem seemed to be Joe Lumley, preventing the side from keeping clean sheets with regular errors as goalkeepers, but since then the blame has shifted to the attacking contingent.
It is important to remember how this side was performing under Neil Warnock in the first few months of the season, and how they were never really in the promotion conversation.
Those shortcomings are rearing their ugly heads at the worst possible time and Boro may miss out on the top six as a result.
Marcus Tavernier is a doubt for this evening’s outing, and if the all action midfielder cannot play any further part in the campaign, then it seems very unlikely Boro finish in the play-offs.