Middlesbrough are in poor form, no one can hide the fact. Most people will try to blame the Manager of the Month curse upon Tony Mowbray, but it goes further than that.
Its a truth no Boro fan wanted to acknowledge when we where flying away from the pack. The truth in the matter is, the Reds squad is too small. Mowbray needs to strengthen, but in order to do that he has to keep the financial balance right. This why I feel Mogga has been a bit hit and miss in his transfer dealings since arriving at the club.
Looking at the pros and cons of his transfer dealings, you compare his freebies of Maxi Haas, Batholomew Ogbeche, Malaury Martin and Faris Haroun. The latter, Haroun has been outstanding for the Boro, whereas Haas was a massive flop. The jury is still out for the other two.
Mowbray’s loan acquisitions have also been a bit topsy-turvy. He brought back old boy Andrew Davies to not much avail as well as the anonymous Alex Nimely who was never given much of a shot. For goalkeepers he can’t be faulted. Carl Ikeme and Paul Smith where outstanding for Middlesbrough during their short spells with the club.
Hopefully the signing of Lukas Jutciewicz will state Boro’s intention in the January transfer window as Boro look set to keep adding. Jutkiewicz joined the club on an emergency loan last week, made his debut against Burnley at the weekend and was signed permanently on Monday for a fee in the region of £1.3 million.
To give Mowbray some credit, he is still trying weed out some of Gordon Strachan’s rejects, with Tarmo Kink being the latest to be linked with a move away from the club. Stephen McManus meanwhile has been linked with Championship strugglers Ipswich Town and Bristol City in the last few days.
The 2-0 defeat to Burnley at the Riverside opened the recycled discussion on the lack of depth in the squad, as 18-year-old rookie goalkeeper Connor Ripley had to start in place of the injured Jason Steele and Danny Coyne. Also, with hardman Nicky Bailey injured and lynchpin Barry Robson serving a suspension the Boro look lost without their key men.
Now with Scott McDonald and Bart Ogbeche carrying knocks as well as Jutkiewicz not allowed to play next week, due to a gentlemen’s agree between Boro and his old club and next opponents Coventry, the Reds are looking really short for options up top.
Boro fans will be hoping there are still some coppers left in Gibson’s wallet as Mogga will need to build on his side if they are to gain promotion.
Written by Scott Easby, We Are Going Up’s Middlesbrough blogger
Scott tweets at @SEasby12