AS well as being assigned with assessing his first-team squad and the structure of his new club in double-quick time, Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has plenty of other items in his new year in-tray.
Alongside making decisions on the futures of some players during the transfer window, he must also quickly reacquaint himself with the Championship, having not managed at this level since 2008.
The Welshman is taking in as many games as he can when the opportunity arises with the first few months of his time on Teesside likely to be ultra-hectic.
This said, the early signs of his reign are encouraging enough, although a further barometer of Boro’s progress will be provided against a Fulham side who have the look of play-off dark horses.
Pulis, who is preparing the ground for some out-of-favour players to leave this month and possibly a couple of new arrivals, said: “It is fresh and it is new, and there is a lot to get my teeth into.
“I am trying to get as much knowledge as I can. In some ways, it is a disadvantage and in other ways it is an advantage.
It is fresh and it is new, and there is a lot to get my teeth into. I am trying to get as much knowledge as I can.Boro boss, Tony Pulis
“There are vast differences between this league and the Premier League, but there are enormous differences between teams in that top division.
“But having said that, this club has everything in place to be a strong Premier League club.”
Pulis has made no secret of the fact that he is busy trying to cultivate an identity among his charges, a stick which was used to beat his predecessor Garry Monk, with many supporters believing that Boro lacked a playing style under him.
Pulis certainly knows enough about the Championship to identify that today’s visitors Fulham definitely have a defined and successful one, with the London club being one of the most potent attacking sides in the division on their day.
He said: “Fulham are a team with an identity, and it is lovely to watch a team who have that and know what they are trying to achieve in and out of possession. It will be a tough game for us.”