COMMON sense thankfully still prevails around the Macron Stadium after six winless games in the Championship, but one wonders for how long it will last?

Wanderers fans walked away disappointed but pragmatic after watching their side outclassed by Middlesbrough.

They say you get what you pay for, and with £15million Britt Assombalonga firing the bullets supplied by £7m winger Adama Traore, the Teessiders have amassed a team well capable of an immediate return to the Premier League.

It is well documented Phil Parkinson has not spent a penny on his squad. He performed one miracle getting the Whites promoted, a second to keep them in this division on a shoestring budget is looking a taller task with each passing week.

Last season’s success has rightly given the manager, his staff and his players some goodwill to bank on as they find their feet at a higher level. Aside from the odd grumble on social media, reaction to Saturday’s defeat has been measured. Should Wanderers stumble against Sheffield United tomorrow night, such sympathy may begin to run dry.

Talk around the Macron has been of focusing on a “mini league” of the Championship’s lesser lights, presumably containing fellow promoted clubs like Sheffield United and Millwall, or the likes of Burton, Barnsley, Birmingham and Brentford. Keeping morale up between those sporadic challenges will be the tricky part.

Wanderers are having a hard time convincing fans a first league win is just around the corner let alone finish above a collection of clubs who have not had the same transfer restrictions in place for the last 21 months.

Parkinson wanted a reaction after the Hull nightmare and, to an extent, he got one.

Wanderers did at least stay in contention between Assombalonga’s goals in the 13th and 71st minutes – even if they saw precious little of the ball.

Had Gary Madine beaten Darren Randolph with a brilliant early volley or David Wheater seen his goal-bound effort blocked by Dael Fry, there may have been something for Wanderers to protect. And Parkinson’s switch to a back four does make the team look more solid, even though Traore would beg to differ.

Whether Wanderers really have the street smarts to win enough games at this level is a question being asked all around town at the moment.

Traore’s mazy dribbles led to two of Boro’s goals and earned him a flurry of tributes after the final whistle. One wonders what Tommy Banks or the late, great Roy Hartle would have made of the attempted challenges which rained in on the Spanish winger, or whether they would be printable in a family newspaper?

Aside from Madine, who despite a general lack of support looked a threat throughout, Wanderers really did not ask enough questions of the Boro defence.

Debutant Craig Noone provided a few bright moments, as did Morais on the opposite flank, but neither was in the game for long spells.

Perhaps the biggest worry for Parkinson at present is getting the right balance in his midfield. On this occasion, his chosen three of Jem Karacan, Darren Pratley and Derik Osede struggled to make any impression on the game whatsoever.

Even Ben Alnwick – who replaced Mark Howard as one of seven changes to the team – blotted his copybook with a late mistake to gift Marvin Johnson the final goal.

Young full-back Antonee Robinson could not possibly have picked a tougher introduction to league football. The Everton youngster had looked bright in the Carabao Cup but his defensive capabilities were not seriously tested. Here, the 20-year-old showed plenty of character to keep going after the runaround Traore was giving him but that he still has lots to learn in senior football.

Robinson was also on the receiving end of a nasty challenge from the Spaniard punished by a yellow card from referee Geoff Eltringham but worthy of more from the baying home crowd.

By half time, Assombalonga had headed Boro into a 1-0 lead and the visitors had been given 72 per cent of possession, as Wanderers bunkered down and looked to protect their penalty area.

The Whites showed a little more attacking intent after half time and Fil Morais did drive one angled shot blocked by Randolph’s legs.

Just as hopes of a revival started to raise, that man Traore breezed through two would-be challenges to gift Assombalonga a second and kill them stone dead.

Even with 20 minutes left, lots of home fans decided to trudge back out into the Horwich rain and begin the inquest. It at least spared keeper Alnwick some extra embarrassment as Johnson’s relatively straightforward 20-yard shot squirmed past him at his right-hand post.

Assombalonga should have wrapped up a hat-trick, racing through on Alnwick’s goal late on but finding the Wanderers keeper in better form this time around.

September looked the toughest month on paper back in the summer when we were all still basking in promotion glory.

Looking up at the rest of the Championship in 24th with two points from the first six games, it has not got any easier.

It is not the first time Parkinson and his side have to brush themselves down from a defeat and go again quickly, it won’t be the last. But the pressure on that first league win is certainly starting to build.