Boro Falling Behind In The 'Optimist' Stakes!

Last updated : 30 January 2009 By Boro Mad

Don't get me wrong - new players often take time to bed in - and that could be where Boro gain an advantage.

But every Boro fan would love to see the club bring in a couple of new faces, as we can hardly point to recent good form to say we don't need anyone.

Top scorer Tuncay Sanli and fellow forward Alfonso Alves did not start at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and that said loads about the tactics Gareth Southgate pinned his hopes on.

Perhaps he could reason that saving the duo for upcoming big games against Blackburn and Manchester City meant more than risking them in a "no win" fixture against the mighty Chelsea.

But there was little else from Southgate's squad missing to fall back on.

Marlon King tried to pick up the scraps from a midfield missing any sign of impetus, and then Alves took over to do a similar thankless task.

We all know Boro should have acted more constructively in this transfer window, even pushing the boat out with money, because before long it won't be a raffle to beat the drop.

The class is going to show. Make no mistake.

Are Stoke and West Brom the certs to go down? Personally I say yes.

Portsmouth and Hull are seen as sides whose slides of late will go all the way into the bottom three.

But both have spent money, and Boro's winless run in the league is worse than any of them.

We come back to the same question ... should we sell Stewart Downing?

He could have fetched anything between £12 and £15 million from Tottenham if reports were to be believed - and that could have brought in three decent players ... all for letting another DECENT player leave.

Downing has been seen as Boro's top man for years but has his time come to move on?

Jimmy Bullard was one player linked with a North-East switch and he left for a fraction of the money we would get for Downing ... and I believe Bullard is a better player.

Where has he gone? To our rivals.

Let's hope Southgate has got it right.