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Middlesbrough: Stay of execution for Pulis could prove fatal to play-off hopes

Middlesbrough: Stay of execution for Pulis could prove fatal to play-off hopes

Middlesbrough’s terrible run of late shows no sign of ending, and with a tricky looking away game at a Swansea side who will be playing with no pressure due to their mid-table position, it could be set to continue.

Fans are rightly unhappy, and although the players need to burden some of the responsibility themselves, it is manager, Tony Pulis, who is receiving the most heat from the Riverside faithful.

Boos have become commonplace at home games now, but they were accompanied by chants against the manager during the Bristol City defeat this week, and chairman, Steve Gibson, is under pressure to do something about it.

But the Daily Star report today, that Gibson will not wilt under the growing calls to replace Pulis, and will continue to stand behind him until the end of the season.

It is a big call from Gibson, although he will feel that to replace him now will not give a new man enough time to bond with the squad and get the best out of them.

But an alternate view would be that a change could see a boost to morale, and, as is often the case, results improve for the new man during the so-called ‘honeymoon period’.

But that short upsurge in fortunes may be enough to get Boro’ back on track and into the play-off hunt — a scenario that looks ever more unlikely as they plod on under Pulis.

Certainly, another defeat at Swansea tomorrow will see the dissenting voices become ever-louder, and it will be hard to see a way back for Pulis or Boro’.

Many fans were calling for the former West Brom boss to walk away, in the best interests of the club, but Pulis steadfastly refused to do so.

He said, after the midweek loss,: “I have been in this position before. I don’t determine my job, that is up to Steve. I will just keep going.

“It’s (his future) nothing to do with me, it’s up to Steve, ask him. I will carry on, keep going, but the important thing is the players keep performing the way they are playing and results will come. I said that four games ago, mind.”

That last seven-word sentence should tell Gibson all he needs to know. If, four games after he vowed things would get better if they just kept going as they were, they are in a worse position than then, surely he is not capable of getting anything more from his side.

He has to go, and for the sake of any slim play-off hopes the Boro’ fans have — regardless of tomorrow’s result — it has to be now!

What do you think, Boro’ fans? Is it too late to replace Pulis now? Should he go and let someone else try to resurrect your season? Or should you just bring someone in temporarily and consolidate for next year? Let us know what you think…

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