Last season under Tony Pulis seemed like a disaster to Middlesbrough fans.
In hindsight, it was actually a season of overachievement with a somewhat limited squad of first team players.
Pulis has made a name out of playing a robust, defensive system which is based on the use of a single striker and a somewhat direct style of play to bring them into the game.
Unfortunately for one Middlesbrough striker, it didn’t quite work in his favour.
Hometown boy Jordan Hugill returned to Teesside on a season-long loan deal from West Ham United – a spell which in truth, never really got going.
The former Preston man scored seven goals in 42 appearances for Middlesbrough, a tally which was representative of a conservative playing style and a preference for playing Britt Assombalonga for long spells.
Jordan Hugill is a confidence player, and no doubt would have excelled had he been given the full backing of Tony Pulis.
Instead, he started just 20 games in the Championship and left with little more than a shrug of the shoulders. The same will not be said for the 27-year-old this season.
After failing to move up the pecking order at West Ham, the striker moved on loan to Queens Park Rangers where he has really shown that he’s among the most effective strikers in the Championship if used correctly.
Hugill has made 15 appearances so far for the Hoops, with 11 of those coming in the starting line-up.
The striker has already matched the goal tally that he notched at Middlesbrough after finding the net seven times in his first three months at Loftus Road.
QPR have struggled to keep clean sheets for far this term, but from an attacking point of view they’re one of the most exciting teams to watch in the division, with only West Brom and Preston – in first and second place respectively – scoring more goals.
Hugill’s input into this can simply be put down to the support network that is built around him.
As well as playing regular alongside Nahki Wells who is able to stretch defence by playing on the shoulder, QPR are blessed with some exciting attacking talent in midfield with the likes of Ilias Chair, Bright Osayi-Samuel and one of the Championship’s prized assets, Ebere Eze playing in support.
Should Middlesbrough have moved to bring Jordan Hugill back to the club this season?
At the Riverside Stadium, Hugill was often left isolated in attack, meaning that he was under pressure to work tirelessly while rarely receiving the ball in a goalscoring position.
This season has been completely different.
I wouldn’t say that Jordan Hugill had a point to prove at QPR this season as he’d previously proven himself as one of the best strikers in the Championship while at Preston.
However what his goalscoring form at Loftus Road does show is that his no-show season at the Riverside Stadium was very much the exception rather than the rule.