There must be times when Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson berates himself for not getting rid of Neil Warnock sooner and appointing Chris Wilder.
If he had, his club may well be a lot further down the road in terms of promotion to the Premier League.
As it stands, that eventuality is still very much on the table, which should be said is remarkable after the Warnock era, but it will be a nerve-racking ride to the finish line that is full of jeopardy.
For further proof of that, take a look at the latest English Championship betting odds and you’ll see Boro at odds of 9/2 to go up.
Now, you may think that those odds don’t promise much in the way of success for Middlesbrough and you would be right in most other circumstances, but it’s important to keep in mind that only two months ago the club were at 12/1 to go up.
So whilst the most up-to-date Championship outright predictions don’t forecast Boro winning the Championship, they do make a strong case for promotion as the form team in the pack.
If you know anything about the Championship then at this point you’ll be nodding along silently as you reach for your cappuccino given that there is always one team that comes flying out of the mid-table to gate crash the playoffs.
Most recently, we’ve seen Aston Villa do it under Dean Smith after his team were 12th in the Championship in February 2019, only to achieve promotion to the Premier League at Wembley three months later.
Indeed, the Championship run-in is all about timing as far as promotion goes and Boro have the momentum behind them to reach the land of milk and honey after seemingly meandering around the wilderness under Warnock.
As briefly touched on, the change in the club’s fortunes came about when Gibson made Wilder the new manager in early November.
Since then, the former Sheffield United boss has won six out of his nine games in charge and only lost once. It has been twenty points out of a possible 27 but perhaps most significantly of all is that Boro are currently averaging 2.2 points a game under Wilder which over the course of 46 games would give the club 101 points.
Naturally, Wilder won’t have a full season to reach those numbers. Nonetheless, the point is that Middlesbrough are exhibiting title-winning form under the 54-year-old which should at the very least, guarantee them a place in the end-of-the-season play-offs.
The play-offs can of course be a bit of a lottery, no matter how many good luck charms fans bring. But as we’ve discussed previously, the sense of danger is really only for those teams who have occupied the positions all the way through the season.
The cat is set among the pigeons when an in-form newcomer joins the race which should suit Boro perfectly in this instance.
Every way you look at it at this moment in time, it seems like promotion is well within Middlesbrough’s grasp.
This might mean that Chris Wilder will return to Premier League management 14 months after leaving Bramall Lane. It would be an interesting development, to say the least.