PHIL Parkinson believes Wanderers’ period of adjustment in the Championship is over.

Though there are some extenuating circumstances which account for the Whites being bottom of the table after five games, no-one at Lostock has looked or excuses in the last fortnight.

Parkinson and his staff have pored over footage of every minute played thus far, good and bad, to draw up a battle plan for a busy September.

Naivety may have played some part in defeats against Leeds United and Derby County but the 4-0 reverse at Hull City before the international break was viewed as a wake-up call by all involved.

Wanderers go into today’s game against Middlesbrough as underdogs and with a warning from their manager to stay in the game at all costs.

The statistics are damning. Eight of the 10 goals conceded thus far have been scored in the first half and Wanderers have led a game just once this season.

“A lot of my players are new to this level and it takes a while to get your legs, in terms of match fitness,” Parkinson reasoned. “But now we have had the two-week break everyone should be ready. And they know what they have to do to get results.

“Whether it has been in the Carabao Cup or the league, most players have got the minutes under their belt and should be able to go and sustain performances.

“It was important we sat down with the lads individually and collectively and went through the games we’ve had so far this season.

“We need to improve. Anyone can see we’ve conceded eight goals in the first half of games and only two in the second – we’re not giving ourselves the best possible chance of a result.

“You have to start the game right, make sure we’re not conceding soft goals. I think when we have conceded, our reaction has not been right.”

Wanderers’ injury list is slowly clearing. David Wheater should return against his former club this afternoon, followed fairly swiftly by Sammy Ameobi and, eventually, Josh Vela.

Absences are felt more acutely in Parkinson’s embargo-affected squad than any other in the division – as by the letter of the law he is only allowed 23 professional players. His slender resources will be put fully to the test over the next three weeks, which see Wanderers take on Boro, Sheffield United, Ipswich Town, West Ham United, Brentford, Bristol City and Aston Villa before the next international sojourn.

By his own admission, the manager was surprised at the effect the midweek cup win over Wednesday had on the following weekend’s game against Derby.

“It caught us out a little bit,” he said. “We have got to look at the players’ energy levels between games because we have got a lot coming up.”

Squad size is not a problem faced by today’s opponents Boro, who spent £30million on strikers alone over the summer.

In spending terms, it will be a David versus Goliath encounter at the Macron but Parkinson believes his opposite number Garry Monk is still searching for the winning formula, which could work to his advantage.

“Everyone knows about the money they have spent – probably more than they did in the Premier League,” he said. “Boro have got plenty of talent in the squad but maybe Garry is striving to get that balance, getting all his best players in the team. It is a nice problem to have but I think he is still trying to work things out.”

After apologising for the defeat at the KCOM Stadium last time out, Parkinson hopes to give Wanderers’ fans something to get behind this afternoon.

“It’s the life of a manager, a player and a football fan – you have good times and bad,” he said. “The true supporters stick with the team after bad results and they know we are working hard as a staff to get the best out of the players we have got. We need them with us.”