Aitor Karanka faces a make-or-break clash with Manchester United at the Riverside on Sunday.
He is in need of an improved display from his players to show they have a chance of conjuring an escape from the bottom three.
The Spaniard’s tenure is likely to come under review during next week’s international break if his side flops again when they meet old pal Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils.
Chairman Steve Gibson is reluctant to sack the manager he has backed for the last three seasons, preferring loyalty to knee-jerk change.
But Boro have not won a league game since December 17 – 10 games ago – scoring just 19 league goals all season.
The bottom two, Sunderland and Boro, are the only teams in the bottom six who have not sacked their manager this season.