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All eyes on Middlesbrough

A 2-0 defeat last time out away to Derby County condemned Middlesbrough to their eighth game without recording a victory, with their last win coming all the way back in mid-September.

In addition to this, goals have been hard to come by for Boro with Jonathan Woodgate’s side having failed to score in their last four games.

Following his appointment in the summer, former defender Woodgate put huge emphasis on playing more expansive football. However, pairing this with victories has proved a challenge so far, with his side currently sitting 22nd in the league table.

Last season

Middlesbrough started the 2018/19 campaign in impressive form, only losing two of their first 11 games. However, a poor run of results over the festive period and six straight defeats over Easter meant the Riverside outfit missed out on the play-off places, with a lack of goals being pinpointed as the downfall of Tony Pulis’ reign as Boro manager.

Last season provided a mixed bag, in terms of results between QPR and Middlesbrough, with then Steve McClaren’s side running out 2-1 winners in mid-December in W12, thanks to goals from Pawel Wszolek and Nahki Wells. In late February, Pulis’ side sealed a 2-0 win.

Transfer business

It has been a relatively modest transfer window for Middlesbrough as they look to trim the wage bill following relegation from the Premier League in 2017. Only four players arrived at the Riverside in the summer, with Anfernee Dijksteel and Marcus Browne being the stand-out arrivals.

In contrast, seven players departed Teeside, with Martin Braithwaite and Aden Flint both leaving for substantial fees.

The gaffer

Jonathan Woodgate

After ending his playing days in 2016, the former defender took his first steps towards management the year later when he was appointed as an assistant coach to new manager Steve Agnew at his home town club Middlesbrough.

He continued working at Boro’s academy until December 2017 when Tony Pulis appointed Woodgate as first-team assistant. Following Pulis’ departure in the summer, Woodgate was given the manager’s job, which is his first in professional football.

Star man

Britt Assombalonga

Front man Assombalonga arrived on Teeside in July 2017, for a club-record £15 million from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest. Despite struggling with injuries throughout his relatively short career, the striker has accumulated an impressive 108 league goals in 257 appearances.

Rising star

Anfernee Dijksteel

Netherlands U20 international Dijksteel arrived at the Riverside in the summer from newly-promoted Charlton Athletic. The 22-year-old aims to make a big impression in the Championship and continue his rapid surge through football having signed for the Addicks from the Nike Academy.

Classic campaign   

2005/06

The 2005/06 season will be fondly remembered by the Middlesbrough faithful for the spectacular run in the Europa League that saw Steve McClaren’s Boro go all the way before suffering defeat in the final to Spanish giants Sevilla.

As well as this, the Riverside outfit also enjoyed a strong run in both domestic competitions, with Middlesbrough reaching the FA Cup semi-finals and the League Cup quarter-finals. McClaren’s side went on to finish a respectable 14th in the Premier League before he was announced as Sven Goran Eriksson’s successor for the England national team job.