The winter blues have hit Boro hard for the second year straight as the Tractor Boys made it four league defeats on the bounce and fingers have started to be hovered over the panic button.
With just 17 games left to be played, Mowbray’s men need to halt the free-fall that they have suddenly found themselves in and they need to do it quickly if they want to avoid missing out on a play-off place for the second time in a row.
Can Kieron Dyer turn our fortunes around? I doubt it. Will Not-So-Marvellous Marvin prove his critics wrong and fire us to promotion? It doesn’t look like it. So just where will that extra drive come from that will spur the team on to cement their place in the top six?
All the teams around us have used the January transfer window to their advantage. Cardiff signed Premier League striker Fraizer Campbell. Hull loaned England goalkeeper David Stockdale. Leicester brought in high scoring Chris Wood. Crystal Palace boosted by bringing in Jacob Butterfield and Kevin Phillips. Who have Boro added to the books to help boost their chances of promotion to the promise land? A man who played just five minutes of football last season and only 44 games in the past five years.
Mowbray has taken a huge gamble by not adding to the squad in the window, especially with the amount of injuries we have had so far this season and in my eyes it is going to be a one gamble too much.
Players are being played out of position because of these injuries. We are seeing captain Rhys Williams being forced to play right back, Scott McDonald playing out wide and Marvin Emnes, well, he might as well not even be on the team bus at the moment.
If you were to ask me the question where do I see Boro finishing at the end of the season my answer would be, regrettably, 8th place; only two positions outside the play-off places and similar to last season. Still, I wouldn’t see this as a failure for Mowbray, as he is doing wonders with the shoestring that he is being forced to work with.
Although after the dismal start to 2013 that we have had, we are still in the top six and still have a bit of breathing space between the chasing pack behind us. We are lucky that the majority of teams in this league aren’t that good. However, we can’t just keep on counting on the failings of our rivals because sooner or later they will catch up and if Mowbray and Co don’t buck up their idea, then there is a huge chance we will quickly fall away.
So with the New Year hangover lasting into February, Boro will need to take a few more aspirins and shake it off for good in their next two home games against Barnsley and Leeds or we can kiss goodbye to playing at Wembley in May. Well, apart from in the FA Cup final, of course.