Boro boss Woodgate showing time can heal all wounds
If there is any manager who has shown this season that being given time is not a sign of weakness by a club, it’s Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate.
All too often we see the axe fall on managers when results are not going their way. It shows weakness when clubs bow to the pressure of fans and the media to look for a replacement, but the hierarchy at Boro can take pride in how the situation has turned at the Riverside.
A 4-0 hammering at the hands of Leeds United at Elland Road in November was a low point for Middlesbrough and pressure was certainly mounting on the broad shoulders of the former England defender Woodgate.
However, time was given and just by taking small steps and not panicking with the injury situation at the Riverside, the tide started to turn.
A 1-0 win over Charlton came after that tough afternoon at Leeds, which was then following by a draw at promotion contenders Nottingham Forest.
Confidence will have taken a knock after the 3-1 defeat at Swansea but Woodgate would accept his side are far from the finished article and days like that are going to happen.
Keeping them to a minimum is what will be key and that is exactly what Boro have been able to do since.
Wins over Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Brom and Preston North End followed, along with a 2-2 draw against Derby County in their last outing.
From a side that secured one win in 13 Championship outings, Boro are now one of the in-form teams in the division.
As they prepare for Friday night’s trip to promotion contenders Fulham, Cottagers boss Scott Parker will know his side face a very different Middlesbrough to the one that struggled in the autumn.
The two sides played out a goalless draw at the Riverside in their meeting earlier this season but Boro’s confidence will be high ahead of the trip to south west London.
Middlesbrough are on the up, while Fulham have lost star striker Alexander Mitrovic to an ankle injury for up to three weeks, which makes Friday’s game an intriguing encounter.
Other clubs could do well to look at the example set by Boro to see that bowing to fan pressure and pulling the trigger is not always the best way to go about improving results.