Aitor Karanka on his last legs at Middlesbroughby Jack Kitson / 16 March 2017, 10:26Tweet
The uncertainty surrounding the future of Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka persists as the club return to the Premier League arena this weekend.
Boro head into the daunting clash with Man Utd (unbeaten in 17 league games) looking for their first league win in 11 matches dating back to mid-December, and if reports are to be believed, then the struggling Spaniard will be gone should his troops fail to perform at the Riverside.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson is considered one of the more loyal men in football, yet even his patience is being tested following a desperate run of form, which has seen the club pick up a feeble four points from a possible 30, leaving them down in 19th - three points adrift of safety with nine games remaining.
Meanwhile, the club’s hopes of FA Cup glory were dashed last weekend after they were booted out of the competition by Man City.
If Karanka flops against his friend Jose Mourinho on Sunday, then Middlesbrough may decide that the international break is the ideal time to make a change in the dugout in what would be a last ditch attempt to boost their chances of avoiding an instant return back down to the Championship.
Hull, Swansea and Leicester have all made managerial switches to great effect, while after a poor start Sam Allardyce has now won three of his last five matches in charge of Crystal Palace.
Middlesbrough supporters will be nervously looking at what is a cruel run-in. The North East side face Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Southampton, plus three crunch clashes with their relegation rivals Sunderland, Swansea, Hull, and also Burnley who aren’t safe yet.
- 1/10 Sunderland
- 4/11 Middlesbrough
- 8/13 Hull
- 2/1 Crystal Palace
- 7/2 Swansea
- 7/1 Leicester
- 12/1 Bournemouth
- 12/1 Burnley
(Odds courtesy of Bet365)