Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder is in contention to be the next manager of Premier League outfit AFC Bournemouth, according to a report from the Daily Mail.
The 54-year-old may have struggled on Teesside during the early stages of this season – but he has an impressive CV and is reportedly admired by the Cherries’ potential new owners as they look to appoint a permanent replacement for Scott Parker.
This report from the Daily Mail is in contrast with other stories from yesterday, with multiple outlets claiming that he isn’t on the top-flight side’s managerial shortlist at this stage and isn’t under consideration
This latest story suggests otherwise though – and those Boro supporters who are still backing their manager after a sticky start to 2022/23 may be feeling nervous about this link with the south-coast side.
Already taking Marcus Tavernier away from the Riverside Stadium in the summer, they could be set to poach Wilder too and that would be a low for the Championship side despite their current fortunes, with the 54-year-old enjoying success in the past with other sides.
Looking ahead to this potential departure, we have identified one potential winner and one loser on Teesside if Wilder opts to move down south.
In fairness to Bola, he has probably made more appearances than many would have expected with nine league displays to his name so far this season, only failing to appear in one.
He hasn’t started every game though and look at their current squad, he would have a real chance of being one of the first names on the teamsheet if Boro switched to a back four at any point, especially with Neil Taylor departing in the summer.
Ryan Giles may be the first-choice option on the left-hand side at this stage – but it may be too much of a risk to play him as a more defensive full-back and the Wolves loanee can also operate on the wing.
Wilder is unlikely to change up his formation though considering a back three has served him well for so long, Bola’s playing time may end up becoming limited with Giles on the left and the likes of Dael Fry, Paddy McNair, Matt Clarke, Anfernee Dijksteel and Darragh Lenihan all competing for a starting spot in central defence.
Wilder has experimented with one up top at times this season but considering how many attacking options he has at his disposal, it would be difficult to see him not playing two up front in the long term.
A change in manager could mean a change of system happens too – and if a new manager reverts to playing one striker – that could limit Watmore’s game time.
Not only is the ex-Sunderland man probably not best suited playing up front on his own – but he would probably be behind Rodrigo Muniz in the pecking order with the likes of Chuba Akpom, Marcus Forss and Matthew Hoppe competing for a starting spot too.
This is why Watmore would probably benefit if his side can retain Wilder.