Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder has suggested he is looking for a reaction from certain Boro players this pre-season after warning them their place in his squad is not guaranteed.
Boro just missed out on a play-off place in the Championship last campaign, ending the season in seventh place.
Wilder will be hoping the club can go at least one better in 2022/23, and the Boro boss says he has ‘put a bomb’ under some players in the first team in the hope of seeing a positive reaction from them ahead of the new season.
“There are some players that are not part of the plans that we will be looking to move on.” the Boro boss explained, via The Northern Echo.
“There are also a couple we’ve put bombs under in the first team.
“I’ve had it at my previous club where I’ve said to them, ‘You’re not part of the plans’, but for whatever reason they ended up being in the end. They came back after the summer and went, ‘I don’t really want to leave this place’, and they got their finger out.
“There are a couple in the group that could fall into that category, but if they go the other way, then I’ve ultimately made the right decision. But if they come back and prove me wrong, that’s good for me because I still think they’re good players and they could have something to offer.”
Quiz: Can you name which club these 27 ex-Middlesbrough players are playing for now?
Adding to his comments further, Wilder suggested there was a psychological element to his actions: “Sometimes, there’s a bit of psychology involved in a couple of them to test them out if I don’t think that they’ve done enough, but they could have more to come.”
“If they can, they will add to the group, and if they don’t, then there is more work for us to do.”
Middlesbrough kick off their 2022/23 Championship campaign with a home match against West Bromwich Albion on the 30th July.
It would certainly be interesting to know which players Chris Wilder is referring to here.
Nevertheless, there is certainly no questioning his methods after the success he has had so far during his managerial career.
Sometimes you need to identify whether or not a player can rise to a challenge or will fold under pressure and it sounds as though that is exactly what the Boro boss is testing, among other things, this pre-season.
With now just over a month until the Championship season kicks off, Boro versus West Brom on the opening weekend is already looking a cracker.