THE international break had given us all a couple of weeks to get over our drubbing on Humberside and rekindled hope for kick-starting our season against Middlesbrough.

The Doombar deliberations were quite upbeat following the closure of the transfer window, in which we managed to conjure up the signing of Craig Noone and attempted to re-sign Chung Yong Lee, the latter showing some ambition.

The news about Julio Baptista and Joey O’Brien training with the club had generated positive stories in the press for a welcome change.

Phil Parkinson made several changes in his attempt to find the right balance in this league, welcoming back David Wheater, chucking new signing Craig Noone in the deep end and swapping goalkeepers with Ben Alnwick coming in.

Then we looked at the Middlesbrough team and reality set in very quickly. Money may not be a guarantee of success but it sure helps.

They have spent more than £40million to our zero. It showed in every position.

They were quicker, better organised, more creative and clinical in their finishing.

We couldn’t handle the likes of Adama Traore, who was awesome at times. Two unstoppable runs from him led to two goals on a plate for Britt Assombolonga.

Marvin Johnson added a third to make the score reflect the difference in class between us and them.

It was men against boys.

You cannot fault the effort in our team but we are struggling to adapt to the higher level. Gary Madine was the exception again with two great individual turn-and-shot attempts which deserved better.

Maybe Julio Baptista has taught Gary a trick or two.

This match showed just how big the task ahead is this season.

Avoiding relegation will be a bigger achievement than getting promoted last season. We’ve almost got to look at the Championship like we used to look at the Premiership.

Any points that we can take off the top-half teams will be a bonus and we must concentrate on taking points off the teams around us.

We must get something out of matches like against Sheffield United and Brentford at home.

This season is going to be a real test of faith for the fans and we need to stick together. Financial matters are slowly being sorted with Ken Anderson’s takeover.

Thanks must go to Ken and to Dean Holdsworth, who took us on when no-one else would.