Middlesbrough had a good season last year showing significant improvement under the management of Chris Wilder following his arrival at the club in November.
However, despite their best efforts and taking it to the final day of the season, Boro just missed out on a play-off spot finishing seventh in the league and five points off the top spot.
Wilder knows how close his side are to being a team that can compete in the play-offs and therefore, his side are now looking towards next season with the aim of a promotion push.
The club already had some good players on the books and have made some good additions to the squad so far with Ryan Giles, Darragh Lenihan and Zack Steffen.
There is still some work to be done especially in the attacking department but Sky Sports pundit David Prutton feels as though the club have a chance of achieving their aims as he told the Mirror’s Championship Preview: “With Boro and Chris, he again was a manager that was quietly confident of getting into the play-offs even though people – pundits, experts – possibly were not giving them enough due respect with regards to getting into that end of season shake-up.
“Chris knows about getting teams out of the Championship and he’ll be doing exactly the same with them.”
Not only was he full of praise for the manager, but Prutton also singled out one player he feels could be important this season: “Key player for him is Isaiah Jones. He was such a fun player to watch such an energetic, exciting box of tricks really. A surprise, which was great.
“So there’s a case for them [to challenge for promotion] with that type of player.”
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Middlesbrough are certainly a side you expect to see fighting towards the top of the table next season and pushing for promotion.
Wilder has plenty of experience and knows what it takes to go to the top flight so he will be hoping that can come in handy.
His side have got some good signings in the door although you do feel as though they are still short on the attacking front and if they are going for promotion this is something they need to address before the season starts.
However, as Prutton says, Isaiah Jones is a player who should be looking to have a big impact for Boro this season and if they can add another player or two, you certainly feel as though their chances of a top six finish increase further.