Boro slipped to their fourth defeat of the season when Alen Halilovic bundled home 10 minutes into the second half before Matt Crooks was sent off for a questionable foul on Royals goalkeeper Luke Southwood.
It leaves the mood on Teesside a somewhat forlorn one as Neil Warnock’s side struggle at both ends of the pitch.
While injuries have taken their toll on Warnock’s side in the early stages of the season, Boro’s squad has been called into question in recent weeks.
But how can Warnock solve his current crisis on Teesside?
With the transfer window firmly slammed shut the free agent market remains the only way for any fresh faces to be brought into the Riverside and with that in mind we take a look at some of the current free agents Boro could target to help them out of their slump.
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1. Robbie Brady - Midfielder
If reports are to be believed then Boro and Brady have been in contact with one another in recent weeks about a potential move to the Riverside. The Irish winger has been without a club since failing to agree a new deal with Burnley in the summer and would provide some much needed competition and quality down Boro’s left-hand-side to take some of the burden off the young shoulders of Isaiah Jones. The former Manchester United academy star has plenty of experience in the Premier League and at international level and would be seen as smart business by Boro. But they may have to act quickly with the 29-year-old also being credited with interest from Scottish Premiership giants Celtic. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Photo: Clive Brunskill
2. Andre Wisdom - Defender
Former Derby man Wisdom can provide Warnock’s side with some much needed competition and versatility in defence. Wisdom spent four years at Pride Park making over 100 appearances for the Rams following his move from Liverpool. Given Boro’s issues at fullback in recent weeks Wisdom would be seen as a smart move for the Boro boss who has also had spells with West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo: Laurence Griffiths
3. Neil Taylor - Defender
Experienced Welsh full-back Taylor has been without a club since leaving Aston Villa in the summer. At 32-years-old Taylor still has a number of years left in him and with his ability to play at either fullback position he would allow Warnock to steer away from the ‘square pegs in round holes’ notion. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Photo: Harry Trump
4. Jozo Simunovic - Defender
With just Grant Hall, Dael Fry, Paddy McNair and Sol Bamba as recognised centre backs, Croatian Simunovic could provide some much needed experience in the heart of the Boro defence having won five titles in five years with Scottish side Celtic. Simunovic has been without a club since leaving the Hoops so may well be a gamble for Warnock but if he were to recapture his form at Parkhead he may well be able to help Boro to more clean sheets. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Photo: Mark Runnacles