Boro turn the corner
Middlesbrough are starting to show signs that they might just be turning their season around after a nightmare start to the season which had fans and pundits flummoxed.
Despite a major surge in transfer activity over the summer, which included the signing of striker Kris Boyd from Rangers, within just a few months they were deep in the heart of the relegation zone, leaking goals and seemingly unable to produce either a win or even a consistent run of results.
Such a start to a campaign was always going to mean just one thing for the man at the helm and having secured just one point from their opening five away games on their slide to 20th in the Championship, Strachan resigned on October 18th . The job was always going to be popular - their poor start meant that survival was probably the only requirement for any incoming manager - and later that month the club appointed Tony Mowbray as the man charged with that task.
Such a drop in expectations - the football odds made them clear favourites for promotion at the start of the season - has allowed the new manager to simply get on with moulding his side into a team, and to concentrate on performances as much as results, and this approach has started to move them up the table.
They are unbeaten in the league since Christmas having racked up eight points – including a valuable away win against fellow strugglers Preston, and hard-fought draws against high-flying Leeds and Norwich City. If Tony Mowbray can carry this momentum on for the rest of the season then there’s no reason why they can't push on to the safety of mid-table, ready to launch another assault next season. No one ever seriously made them football betting tips for relegation, and they do look more than capable of avoiding the drop.
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They will of course need to replace David Wheater, but if they can do that then he has already proved with West Bromwich Albion that he has the know-how to secure Boro’s position back in the promised land of the Premier League.