Thank God for that!!!
A disappointing season is over, done with, throw it in the bin and let us all move on to pastures new.
Easier said than done though isn’t it? The end of season clear out has begun and we, the fans, are wondering what will be in store under the managerial tenure of Gordon Strachan.
People will be disappointed to see backroom staff that have had a long affiliation with the club be asked to leave and find employment elsewhere, but we have to trust in Strachan to develop his team, his staff and ultimately his challenge to return to the Premier League.
Loan signings have said their goodbyes and several players seem destined to depart in the coming weeks and months, this begs the questions who will we bring in to bolster the squad for the challenge ahead.
I feel we have five key areas of improvement, some are obvious to the Boro faithful and some may provoke debate. It has to be remembered we are beyond pulling our punches; we simply need quality, experience and desire to rise to the challenge of gaining promotion.
So here are my five permanent signing targets, thoughts? Agree? Disagree?
1. Kasper Schmeichel
Club; Unattached; Age; 23; Position; Goalkeeper
We desperately need a new commanding presence in goal, which can remain at the club for years to come. This man easily fits the bill and after leaving Nott’s County through mutual consent he is available. Can we sign him? Yes if we make the move for him now.
2. Robert Snodgrass
Club; Leeds United; Age; 22; Position; Winger
An outstanding prospect that can play on both wings, something we require. We desperately need some creativity to allow the goals for column to drastically increase. This man easily fits our requirements and could be available should we make a reasonable offer to Leeds.
3. Stephen McManus
Club; Celtic; Age; 27; Position; Centre Back
Had a reasonable loan spell at the club and Strachan should look to make this move permanent. A lot will depend on a new appointment at Celtic, but I feel he will be available and want to return to the club. Will be ideal as club captain and will set a fantastic example to all around him.
4. Rickie Lambert
Club; Southampton; Age; 28; Position; Centre Forward
An out and out goal-scorer in the lower leagues and proven this with Bristol Rovers and now at Southampton. He will want to prove himself at a higher level and could prove to be the perfect foil for McDonald. Another who will be available at the right price, though not overly expensive I feel.
5. Nicky Bailey
Club; Charlton Athletic; Age; 25; Position; Central Midfield
Has proven to be a fantastic acquisition for Charlton and can play at a higher level. He is a combative midfielder, who has an eye for goal and easily fits the requirements of the club; in terms of goals output, hard working mentality and determination to lead from the front and win.
This will give the squad a nucleus to move forward, a spine to stand up and be counted and a quality to deliver on the pitch. I am not saying we only need five signings, far from it, as both Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion have proven this season.
We need a squad with more depth, more quality and simply more experience. Who would you add to the squad?
I feel with these signings as a basis we can look forward to the club challenging towards a Premier League return in the coming months and look forward to a return to the level the fans desperately desire and obviously deserve.
With this we need to retain the services of players like; David Wheater, Rhys Williams, Emmanuel Pogatetz, to name but three and build for the future of the club.
We can return to the good times, we just need to pull together, both on and off the pitch and implement quality changes to the first team and our depleted backroom team.
Relax, enjoy the summer break and let us look forward to the challenges ahead.
Read more of Derek’s articles at his excellent site Gaffers Sports Blog