This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Regular Punter’ series, where we gather original opinions from select, passionate fans of the clubs concerned on matters surrounding their team and share them with a wider audience…
It’s safe to say that it’s not been the league campaign that many Middlesbrough fans would have originally hoped for under the guidance of Jonathan Woodgate.
Boro are winless in their last ten matches in all competitions, which has seen them fall down the second-tier standings at an alarming rate.
Football League World’s Middlesbrough fan pundit Phil Wrightson has voiced his concerns over the current situation at the Riverside.
Wrightson admitted that the current crop of players that Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate has available to him aren’t up to the standard to retain their status as a Championship club this season.
“I am very concerned about the position we find ourselves in, even more so as our players and manager have been quoted as saying that they are certain they will get out of the mess we find ourselves in.
“I am confused as to where this confidence/arrogance comes from as they certainly don’t look like a team ready for a battle. In our last three games we played the bottom three in the Championship and have taken one point. We have only scored two goals in those games; one a deflected free kick and one a keeper error and both of these goals came in the same game in which the opposition had been reduced to ten men.
“If we cannot take points from the worst teams in the division I fail to see how we can hope to scrape enough points for survival from the better teams. The team inherited by Woodgate from Pulis is not that different to the one Pulis finished 7th with; whilst most fans accepted we wouldn’t be challenging for promotion, we certainly didn’t expect this catastrophe of a season.”
Middlesbrough are currently sat 21st in the Championship table, but are just three points clear of the relegation zone, which will make for concerning reading for the club’s supporters.
The regular punter went on to question the club’s decision to appoint Woodgate in the summer of 2019, and claimed his side are ‘sleepwalking towards relegation’ in this year’s league campaign.
“I welcomed the sacking of Pulis but the lack of ambition shown by Steve Gibson in appointing Woodgate and the lack of action he is showing now is astonishing.
“We are sleepwalking towards relegation much as we did in the Premier League under Southgate and Karanka, but relegation to the third-tier would be a disaster and completely unacceptable.”
Wrightson called on Woodgate to trust the ability that the club’s younger players have, and has criticised the more ‘senior’ members of the Middlesbrough squad for having a care-free attitude despite Middlesbrough’s dismal run of form in 2020.
“Woodgate chucked the young players under the bus at the weekend stating when he asked why he wasn’t playing them that when he had played them, we found ourselves in relegation trouble.
“This shows a complete lack of insight in to the fact that it was when Woodgate was forced to play the kids that we won four on the trot, including games away at West Brom and Preston and this run won Woodgate Manager of the Month.
“It’s only since our more expensive, experienced players have come back that we have hit a wall. He needs to show faith in the young players (Coulson/Spence/Tavernier) that got us these results because they are the only ones who look like they care; otherwise I don’t see a way out of this.”
Middlesbrough’s survival bid doesn’t get an easier either, as they look to get a positive result against promotion-chasing Leeds United at the Riverside on Wednesday evening.
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