Middlesbrough spent big in the summer to ensure an instant return to the Premier League following their relegation last season, but things haven’t quite gone to plan for Garry Monk on Teesside.
Six points off the playoffs approaching the halfway stage of the campaign, Boro had been expected by many to challenge for the title, and the pressure is firmly on Monk to deliver an upturn of results in the coming weeks.
Recent defeats to Bristol City and Derby County have been heavily criticised, with the 3-0 mauling by the Rams at The Riverside Stadium of particular annoyance to Boro fans.
Monk needs a distraction from his side’s league form, and the third round draw of the FA Cup has provided the former Leeds boss with a brief reprieve as he prepares his men for the visit of Ipswich Town on Saturday afternoon.
Boro have been handed a home tie against fierce local rivals Sunderland, with the Teessiders looking to make it five wins on the bounce against their neighbours.
Fans took to Twitter to have their say on the draw…
Prepare for a sub 20k crowd. Apathy gaining a hold on the town. Lifeless team. No atmosphere. Clotet was Monk's Peter Taylor. Clueless without him it seems
— Alan Hunton (@huntyhouse) December 4, 2017
Can't wait for us to lose and that to put the cherry on top for monk to get out #MonkOut
— BoroLads (@BoroLads) December 4, 2017
Genuinely don't care about the cup. Need to sort out the league
— Kris (@krisdunning2015) December 4, 2017
At least we’ll beat someone
— Gaza (@GaryB2015) December 4, 2017
Drawn against a free pass into the next round, nice ????????
— Andy Tover (@JustBraithwaite) December 4, 2017
Easy 3 points
— Mark Dhali (@markdhali) December 4, 2017
New manager before then please
— Andrew Dallin (@adallin) December 4, 2017