How Middlesbrough's depleted squad compares to Derby County, Nottingham Forest and other Championship clubs
After weeks of uncertainty and speculation, new head coach Jonathan Woodgate reassured Middlesbrough fans during his impressive unveiling last week – but just how big is the job at hand?
In his first official Boro press conference, Woodgate outlined his intentions to play attacking football, promote youth players and bring supporters back to the Riverside next term.
But as things stand, according to their club website, Boro have just 18 senior players under contract for next season.
That includes the likes of Martin Braithwaite, Rudy Gestede and Marvin Johnson, who were either sent out on loan or rarely featured for Boro last campaign.
It should be noted that list doesn’t include the likes of academy graduates Connor Malley and Stephen Walker, who both signed professional deals at the club last season.
Even so, Boro’s squad does appear a little light compared to their Championship rivals.
In comparison, last season’s play-off finalists Derby County have 25 players on their books, Nottingham Forest have 31, while Leeds have several players set to return following time away on loan.
There are pros and cons to Boro’s situation, and a lack of senior bodies will allow Woodgate to build a new-look side, while incorporating players from the club’s academy.
But, with just over a month to go until the start of the new Championship campaign, Boro’s squad still looks worryingly thin in certain areas.
For starters, Johnson and Marcus Tavernier are the only recognised wingers in the first-team set-up, while the side would be desperately short of full-backs if anything happened to George Friend or Ryan Shotton.
Following last season’s seventh-place finish, Boro have lost John Obi Mikel, Stewart Downing, Dimi Konstantopulos and Andy Lonergan after announcing the quartet won’t be signing new deals.
Mo Besic and Jordan Hugill have also departed following loan spells at the Riverside last term, while Darren Randolph is now the only senior goalkeeper at the club.
After working as Tony Pulis’ first-team coach last season, Woodgate will know where his squad is short, and will have to rely on members of his recruitment team to amend it.