SHANE BLAND: Right time for Karanka to go

I think the time was right for Aitor Karanka's departure at Middlesbrough.

Thursday, 16th March 2017, 1:02 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:09 am
The Gloves Are Off with Blues keeper Shane Bland

The question, however, is it too late? Is there anybody around that can save Middlesbrough?

Personally, I would like see Claudio Ranieri take the job. I think he'd be an excellent choice, but whoever comes in is going to have a big task on her hands.

The fact is, Middlesbrough are in a hole and it's going to be a battle to get out of it.

Tuesday night’s result against Halesowen Town was a massive one for us and it’s good to be back in the top five after a few weeks out.

After the draw against Rushall Olympic, we knew that we had to get a positive result to push us back into the play-off places and we managed that.

We started the game in quite a sluggish manner and conceded earlier but we dug in over the first half and managed to get ourselves level and went from there.

We dominated the second half and scored some top quality goals. We know for a fact that we’ve got the levels in the team to step things up when we need to and we showed that.

With us having to go to Stafford at the weekend, we knew it was important to get the result and create some positive momentum going into that game.

Fair play to Lincoln City, after their amazing FA Cup run finally came to an end. It’s been a brilliant advert for non-league football.

It’s everyone’s dream to get to the latter stages of the FA Cup, and especially to play at grounds like the Emirates in front of 60,000 people.

To also be doing so well in the National League and FA Trophy, it’s a great achievement.

Looking at it, Lincoln and the manager have ambitions to do well. I heard that they want to be in League One within four years. You just never know what will happen.

It’s been a crazy week in the Championship, with a number of managerial sackings and appointments.

I think that Derby and Norwich have both made good decisions with their managerial decisions this week.

With the Derby appointment, I think that Gary Rowett is going to do a fantastic job there. He did a good job at Birmingham and I don’t know how or why they sacked him.

It was always going to be a tough ask for Alex Neil to take Norwich straight back to the Premier League, but I think in the end, it has come down to them needing to re-shape the squad and bring somebody new in to give them a boost.

Forest, on the other hand, are struggling at the moment and Mark Warburton’s appointment could go either way. A lot will depend on what he can and can’t do there.

My choices for promotion to the Premier League this year are Newcastle United, Huddersfield Town and Leeds United.

I watched Leeds a few weeks ago and I thought they looked good.

They’re having a really good season and they’ve got it all. A goalscorer, a good spine to the team and they’ve recruited well. Garry Monk has done an excellent job.

Huddersfield are real promotion contenders too. David Wagner has got them well drilled and well organised. They’re a really difficult side to break down. They don’t score many goals, but they know how to shut games out and it’ll work to their advantage.

I think that Newcastle will win the league, but they’re not quite consistent enough at the moment. Teams around them, such as the two I’ve mentioned, have managed to find those levels and used it in their favour.

Thanks for reading,