The play-off race is coming onto the final straight, but Middlesbrough are still trying to round the bend, as they look winded, limp and beaten as the pack swarm past them left, right and centre.
Fans are rightly wanting action, and the only have two areas to look at when apportioning blame — the players, and the manager.
There is no way to change the players, at least until a new transfer window, so as much as they share the angst of the supporters, most of their fingers are pointing towards Tony Pulis.
But the Teesside Gazette report today that Steve Gibson is set to stand behind his beleaguered boss, and hope for a second-wind that will see them dip over the line ahead of their rivals.
But that is unlikely to appease the fans inside who were chanting for “Pulis out” last night, in what the Gazette called a “toxic” atmosphere.
Many neutral observers will say it is good to see a chairman or owner not hastily sack the manager on the back of a poor run. But they are not paying good money to witness a team going through the motions, but achieving little… or nothing, to be more exact.
They see a brand of football on display that is not attractive to watch when your team is winning. It is downright ugly when they are not.
But what is worse, even, than that, is seeing the players appearing to lack motivation, or an apparent inability to change the set-up effectively during a game when things are not working.
Gibson wants to stand by his man, but at what cost? Promotion seems a very long way off, suddenly, and where the club go after another campaign of failure, is anyone’s guess.
Debate rages on via social media. Woodgate is the name mentioned in the press, but fans are not enamoured at that prospect, but even he may be able to give the players an end of season boost, that Pulis does not seem capable of.
If they stick with the former Stoke and West Brom manager, the season looks to be effectively over anyway. So give someone a chance until the end of the season. What is the worst that can happen?
Whether it is Woodgate, or someone else, something needs to be done — if only to give the loyal supporters a tiny shred of hope and belief.
If something is not done, and things do not improve, fans may look towards the director’s box for the next target of their fury.
What are your thoughts about Gibson’s apparent decision to keep Pulis in place, at least until the end of the season? Let us know what you think about it…
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