AFTER two matches offering Tony Pulis a reminder of the financial pitfalls in English football after dropping out of the Premier League, the Middlesbrough manager has stressed the importance of not overspending on the transfer front to preserve a brighter future at the Riverside.

But the Boro boss, whose own contract is up for renewal at the end of the season, insists that whatever steps have been taken this season have still been with a view to gaining promotion in mind.

Middlesbrough go into today’s visit of Hull City trailing a play-off spot by four points with only five matches remaining, which is a far cry from an automatic top two place which was the target for much of the campaign.

The hope is that Boro can still secure a play-off spot come the end of the campaign and go on to seal a top-flight return, but regardless of what happens he feels they are in a better shape money-wise than many of their counterparts in the division.

On Tuesday, Boro left the University of Bolton Stadium with three points having beaten a Bolton team that were not paid last month and with a huge cloud hanging over the club’s future. Four days earlier he also learned of problems at Swansea, who were relegated last May.

“There are a lot of clubs in the Championship who have to be mindful, careful of the financial situation they are in,” said Pulis. “Going to Swansea last Saturday, they have voluntary redundancies there, they have just put out 50 of them. They are talking about cutting this and that.

“There will be a lot more clubs in the Championship who will have to be careful about how they run their finances. That includes us.

“We have to do it better than we have and people need to recognise the important thing is the football club, this club had lots of problems in 1986. They have been lucky to have had Steve Gibson for the last 20 years who has bankrolled it, but it still has to be run properly.

“When I was at Stoke, Bolton Sam Allardyce finished in the top four or five in the Premier League. People have got carried away, they have not cut their cloth accordingly and it spirals. They are in a dreadful position now and they have been in the Premier League for 14 years or whatever.

“Clubs have to be careful. We are all chasing the dream but not at the cost of where Bolton find themselves in at the moment.”

Middlesbrough didn’t recruit the number of players they wanted during the January transfer window, and Pulis again stressed how much work has gone on behind the scenes to address an imbalance in the club’s expenditure.

“What people don’t realise is this football club has been very frugal this year, we’ve brought more money in than any other football club in the Championship, over £50m,” he said.

“We’ve sold our three best players.

“Adama Traore played his best football here and we sold him. Patrick Bamford was top scorer – sold him. And we had the best centre-half in the league and we sold him. There’s only one centre-half in this league went to play in the Premier League this year, Ben Gibson.

“Then you put (Adam) Forshaw, (Cyrus) Christie, Fabio (da Silva), who else? Who else? Who else? It’s over £50m. We’ve cut the wage bill accordingly. We’ve been doing stuff behind the scenes to make sure the club’s in a good position and that’s important, irrespective of what’s going on out there and what happens on the football pitch.

“Behind the scenes trying to make sure it’s organised and reorganised in a way that’s getting stronger and we won’t be in a position that Bolton are in. And we won’t be in a position that Swansea are in, and we won’t be in a position that other clubs are in.”

Financial savings – which still allowed Pulis to spend on the likes of George Saville, Paddy McNair and Aden Flint – mean Middlesbrough will be in a better shape if they stay in the Championship.

Pulis, however, insists that the ambition to go up is still there.

“You’ve got to win every week, irrespective,” he said. “And you won’t get any credit for what we’ve done behind the scenes. People won’t even know what we’ve done behind the scenes. The supporters probably don’t even realise what we’ve brought in.

“I’m not sure it’s preparing yourself not to go up, it’s preparing yourself to put the club in a sensible position and still having a go. We’ve been, I think, poor in front of goal, there’s no doubt about that, no doubt. But we’ve also been damned unlucky at times.”