We are now five games into the 2017/18 Championship season and Middlesbrough have had a fairly tepid start, picking up seven points as of September 3. Garry Monk’s men were tipped for automatic promotion at the beginning of the campaign and plenty of punters will be keen to back Boro in the coming weeks.
With a favourable run approaching, Monk knows that building momentum and confidence is key – especially ahead of the busy festive period. Middlesbrough were active in the transfer window this summer, giving Monk the financial backing needed to mastermind a bid for the Championship crown.
The north east side went all in on Britt Assombalonga, eventually acquiring the striker from Nottingham Forest for an estimated fee of £14 million. And with a number of high-profile names following Assombalonga through the Riverside Stadium door, there really is no excuse for failure this season.
With former Leeds United boss Monk at the helm, Boro’s future is bright. In terms of attacking talent, Boro are blessed with a plethora of options and Monk will do well to keep his offensive corps satisfied.
Monk has four competent strikers in Rudy Gestede, Patrick Bamford, Ashley Fletcher and Assombalonga and he may struggle with a selection headache on more than one occasion this campaign. All four are capable of leading the line; it is a good problem for Monk to have.
Looking at the latest Championship betting markets, Boro are now out to 9/1 to be crowned champions and some may be concerned by the fast-starting Cardiff City. Neil Warnock has done an excellent job in the Welsh capital but over the course of 46 matches, Boro should have enough talent to oust their title rivals.
Fellow big spenders Wolverhampton Wanderers are the current market leaders at around 11/4 and they may be the main danger in the race for automatic promotion. Winning the title would be nice but Boro’s main aim has to be promotion rather than the second tier title.
After spending £50m Garry Monk knows it's promotion or bust at Middlesbrough https://t.co/RtHutGsbel
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) September 3, 2017
Boro are well worth backing at a price. At the very least, a playoff appearance should be on the cards and you can back Monk’s men to win the playoffs at 8/1. With a tight defensive unit, Middlesbrough are set up perfectly for knockout football.
The vast majority of Boro’s squad have Premier League experience of some kind and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Monk’s side go far in one of the two domestic cup competitions if he selects a strong starting line-up for those competitions.
According to Championship odds available with Betsafe, Middlesbrough are just 5/7 to finish in the top six this season – the minimum objective for Monk. Earning promotion via playoff football isn’t ideal but the satisfaction is all the same and fans will be hoping for a successful trip down to Wembley if needed.
After a relatively modest start to the campaign, Boro may be set for a positive run of results in the coming weeks. Monk is experienced enough to know the score; earning promotion back to the Premier League is no picnic but with this Middlesbrough side, it should be the number one objective.