Middlesbrough have been hunting a return to the top flight and they may still have a chance as they cling on to sixth spot.
There’s a lot of football to be played, but you’d never bet against a Tony Pulis side in a promotion tussle.
He’ll make his team tough to beat and with the players at his disposal and they’ll score goals too.
The most likely outcome, based on percentages, is that they’ll still be a second-tier team next season, but with a summer of recruitment they would almost certainly be amongst the favourites for promotion.
Whilst recruitment might focus on big names and high-impact players, I also imagine Pulis will be looking to build for the future.
As well as the players arriving who can implement a top-flight return, he might invest in a couple of slow burners too and there’s no better than George Cooper at Peterborough.
Cooper could be ripe for a move, he signed for Posh under previous manager Grant McCann, but has only had four minutes of football under new manager Steve Evans.
A change of personnel can seriously affect a new player’s chances and Cooper had three appearances under the previous manager, including a start. He’d even scored in the 3-0 win against Oldham.
He’s an attacking midfielder that rolled off the Crewe Alexandra conveyor belt of talent recently.
In League Two he was a real driving force that kept them out of the bottom two this season, racking up 14 assists in all competitions.
He made almost 150 appearances for the Gresty Road side despite his tender age. In the January window McCann moved for the talented youngster, paying an undisclosed fee to secure a three-year deal.
Middlesbrough play a 4-3-3 formation with 29-year old Adam Clayton in the centre of that midfield trio. He’s been consistent this season and looks set to retain his place going into the next campaign, but perhaps a move for Cooper could give Pulis an uncut diamond to work with? It is this writer’s opinion that Steve Evans doesn’t cultivate youngsters as much as buy proven players (and lots of them), so Cooper could well find himself frozen out at London Road.
There’s an incredibly talented player there, a player with a ridiculous amount of first team football for one so young, aching to be given a chance.
Middlesbrough might not have a first team spot for him right now, but a purchase and loan back out, even to his old club Crewe, will see him flourish into a wonderful talent. A little foresight now can pay huge rewards in a couple of season’s time.