Chris Wilder got off the mark as Middlesbrough manager at the third time of asking this past weekend with a victory over Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Boro had picked up just one point from Wilder’s first two matches in charge although they were probably quite unfortunate to do so, having had the better of play against both Millwall and Preston North End.
They were clinical in the first half against the Terriers on Saturday though and secured a 2-1 win, even with quite a few players still on the sidelines.
One who has been stranded there since the start of 2021 is Marcus Browne, who suffered a serious knee injury against Brentford in the FA Cup in January and has been absent ever since.
The attacking midfielder has recently returned to training though although is yet to kick a competitive ball, with a return to the under-23’s initially being pencilled in.
As January looms though, should Wilder be looking to keep Browne around or let him go amid a report suggesting that the Teessiders will let the attacking midfielder leave on loan? Let’s weigh it up.
Firstly it’s hard to say if Browne is actually good enough for the Championship as he’s been rarely seen at the Riverside since signing from West Ham in 2019.
He’s played just 18 times in the Championship and wasn’t favoured by Neil Warnock until he gave him a chance right around the time he suffered that catastrophic injury.
It looked as though Browne may have got an extended run in the team to prove himself but that never happened, and with Boro now pretty stacked in attacking areas it’s hard to see him getting ahead of any of the strikers or attacking midfielders currently at the club.
That’s why a loan deal in January to a League One club would make sense to see what kind of level he is at – especially after such a bad injury.
Could it be that Wilder will give Browne a clean slate to try and impress?
It would probably be a fair thing to do considering he was just coming to life when he suffered the knee injury at the start of the year, but football can be a cruel game sometimes.
Browne may not be the same player after such a long lay-off but Wilder will see first-hand in training if he’s good enough to figure in his plans or not.
There’s certainly more benefits to either selling him or more preferably loaning him out for regular minutes but he does possess flair and it could be very useful off the bench in the second half of the campaign.