We’re approaching the halfway stage of the Championship season and so far there’s only one contender to be the the campaign’s surprise package.
Middlesbrough were tipped for a campaign of mediocrity after suffering a turgid campaign last time out that saw them dragged into something of a relegation dogfight, but thankfully Neil Warnock swooped in in the eleventh-hour.
A lower mid-table finish was probably expected for the Teessiders this term but instead Warnock’s side find themselves nestled nicely in the play-off spots as we enter the festive period.
A top six finish was far from an expectation, but now that the club are there they will be wanting to consolidate their spot – or even better, kick on.
If Boro are to do that then the January transfer window will be key.
Warnock likes working with a tight-knit squad, but what we’ve seen is that Middlesbrough have lacked depth during an intense run of fixtures – particularly in attacking areas.
That’s something that the club will be looking to address next month, with the arrival of a winger tipped as a priority.
Yannick Bolasie is a player who has been heavily linked with a move to the club after a summer deal fell through at the final moment.
Neil Warnock is thought to be a big fan of the Everton outcast, with the winger also confirming how much he respects the former Crystal Palace boss after their time together at Selhurst Park.
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It seems that everything is lined up for a January pursuit and that is very exciting for supporters.
While Middlesbrough’s squad have given absolutely everything to get into the position that they’re in now there’s little doubt as to what is needed to help the team kick on and move up to that next level.
Pace and trickery are not attributes which are easy to find in Warnocks’s ranks – that’s why full-backs such as Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson have often been used in more advanced roles that don’t come natural to them.
But that won’t cut it as the season moves towards the business end.
Bolasie will offer something truly unique in comparison to the rest of the squad and with the player having a big point to prove after a frustrating few years, it could be a match made in heaven.