Middlesbrough are in a position that supporters could have only dreamed of six months ago.
After narrowly avoiding relegation last term there was a real feeling among supporters that the club needed a dose of reality to digest the fact that the hope of returning to the Premier League was further away than they realised.
The Teessiders have endured wholesale changes to their playing squad in recent years and with Neil Warnock in charge the feeling was that he was there merely to grind out results as the club continued to rebuild their playing ranks.
Based on the evidence of this term it seems that Middlesbrough could be aiming much higher.
Warnock’s side have been one of the most consistent sides in the Championship this term and that’s why they continue to find themselves in the chasing pack for the play-off spots.
His team might not be the exciting, high-adrenaline side that many fans would love to watch, but my word it is effective.
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With the veteran manager in charge it’s hard to imagine that Middlesbrough will be too far away from the top six come the end of the season.
With that in mind, it seems that Steve Gibson has a big decision to make.
The January transfer window is just a couple of weeks away and Warnock has made it clear that he’d like to add some attacking reinforcements to the team.
Of course new signings are expensive, and that may be seen as an unnecessary luxury for a side who are languishing in mid-table.
While that was expected to be the case on Teesside, things have certainly changed since then.
Middlesbrough are just falling short of the top six on current evidence, but if Warnock was to sign the two or three players that he’d ideally like then it seems that he could have the tools to finish the job.
The Championship isn’t as strong this term as it has been in recent years, but that is why the Gibson needs to capitalise on the surprise position that they find themselves in.
Of course it’s not worth compromising the long-term future of the club, but if Middlesbrough were to take a punt on reaching the top six then it’s a move that could pay off big time.
With Warnock Gibson can be assured that his money is safe, and perhaps it’s that show of faith that will make the difference.
Other clubs will be reluctant to splash the cash next month and that’s why doing so could prove to be a masterstroke to capitalise on what has been the most unusual of seasons.
Given Warnock what he wants and he’ll provide results, and with a strong January transfer window under his belt you’d be foolish to bet against Middlesbrough being a surprise candidate for the play-offs by the time May rolls around.