This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand….
A week can be a long time in the life of a football manager.
Things were starting to look up for Jonathan Woodgate last week as a decent run of results saw the pressure start to ease on his inexperienced shoulders.
A narrow victory over Barnsley on Wednesday night had meant that Middlesbrough had lost just one game in six league fixtures, leading Jonathan Woodgate to share a joke that statistics were starting to work in his favour.
That certainly wasn’t the case after a trip to Elland Road.
A 4-0 defeat against Leeds United was far from the ideal result to end that week on.
Granted, Marcelo Bielsa’s side are one of the strongest sides in the Championship but to roll over with nothing more than a whimper against the side who are deemed to be your closest geographical rivals is poor.
Woodgate may have seen the light at the end of the tunnel against Barnsley, but in Leeds everything went dark once more.
If the Middlesbrough boss was under pressure before, it seems that he could be at last chance saloon now.
The festive period is upon us, but as we’ve seen previously it’s not a time of year where Steve Gibson and Neil Bausor feel particularly cheerful.
It was just before Christmas when the decision was made to sack Garry Monk as manager, and it’d be naive to think that the same couldn’t happen again if performances don’t improve.
Is Jonathan Woodgate under pressure as Middlesbrough manager?
Jonathan Woodgate faced a near-impossible brief when he took over as manager, but unfortunately in this business that doesn’t excuse poor results.
Unfortunately for Woodgate, results have actually been far worse than poor.
The next five fixtures against Charlton, Nottingham Forest, Swansea City, Stoke City and Huddersfield appear to be more important than ever as these could well be the games that make or break the 39-year-old’s time in charge.
Middlesbrough need to get some wins on the board and if that doesn’t happen in the coming fixtures then you can’t blame the hierarchy for making a change, as afterall, the Teessiders must not be dragged into a relegation battle.
How much attention have you paid to Middlesbrough this season? Let’s find out!
Rumours have already started circulating that Steve Gibson is eyeing up potential replacements, and while those reports have been played down, it’s worth remembering that there’s no smoke without fire.
Let’s be clear, no one is expecting Middlesbrough to win five games on the spin, but anything short of 7-8 points out of 15 against largely average opposition will start ringing alarm bells.
Jonathan Woodgate’s appointment as manager seemed like a romantic appointment, and while the purists among us would love nothing more than to see him succeed at his hometown club, we know very well that such stories don’t always have a happy ending.