A lack of goals and a shortage of creativity in midfield are just two of Birmingham City's problems so far this season. But they are just part of a larger predicament for Steve Bruce.
The Birmingham manager, who has seen his side draw 0-0 away to Fulham and lose 2-1 at home to Manchester City, is concerned at how easily his team are conceding goals and he has called for a drastic improvement at home to Middlesbrough tonight.
The worrying thing for Birmingham is that the defence can usually be relied upon to save the team in times of trouble. Not so this time.
With rumours persisting that Liverpool want to sign Matthew Upson, and Kenny Cunningham coming towards the end of his own career, Bruce is already under pressure to sign a new defender. But now auguries are not good.
Anything short of victory tonight would be a significant setback to Birmingham's hopes of finishing in a European position and, while it would be too early to suggest that Bruce is under pressure, these are not comfortable times for the former Manchester United defender.
On Saturday in the match against Manchester City, the Birmingham defenders were too easily exposed against Darius Vassell and Andy Cole on the counter-attack. It was not a pleasant sight.
"We got off to a great start but overall as a team we didn't defend as well as we can do and Vassell and Cole caused us problems all afternoon," Bruce said.
"It was something we spoke about at half-time but even then we didn't deal with it when we came out. We didn't do the basics which we are normally so good at.
"I thought the discipline of the team when we were 1-0 up, flying forward and sometimes leaving ourselves twoontwo at the back, with their movement and pace, was not ideal. It was going to leave us with problems and that was the case.
"I was worried about us defensively all game. Defensively the whole team needed to be better. But we'll get things started again, because that's usually where we are very good. We'll just be reminding them all of what their jobs are.
"It's good to have another game so quickly. It's a situation where, if you're a footballer, you want it to come as quickly as you possibly can. It's a chance to put things right."
Blues forward Emile Heskey could again miss out because of his thigh injury, while Clinton Morrison is still deciding whether to sign for Norwich City or Crystal Palace. This means that Bruce's striking partnership - Mikael Forssell and Walter Pandiani - is decided for him.
Nicky Butt, who scored on his home debut against Manchester City, picked up a slight groin strain but should be fit, while Damien Johnson serves the last game of a fourmatch ban carried over from last season.
Life is no easier for Steve McClaren, the Middlesbrough manager, who has also forgotten what it is like to win a football match.
With that in mind, he has warned larger Premiership clubs that Mark Viduka, the Australia international striker, is not for sale.
Viduka has frequently been linked with a move away from the Riverside Stadium in recent months, with Newcastle United seemingly interested.
However, Viduka underlined his importance to McClaren during the 2-0 defeat on Saturday to Tottenham Hotspur and, at St Andrew's tonight, will start only his second match since Boxing Day.
It was at St Andrew's eight months ago that Viduka sustained a hamstring injury. Apart from a failed 12-minute comeback against Crystal Palace in early April, he didn't play again last season.
The 29-year-old would now appear to be fully fit again, particularly after tormenting the Spurs defence at White Hart Lane after his arrival at the start of the second half.
" Mark came on on Saturday and proved what a great player he is, one of the best in the Premier League," McClaren said. "I know there has been a lot of speculation about him at the present moment, but we've had no contact from any clubs.
"As the chairman [Steve Gibson] stated earlier, and I will state now, we don't want to lose our best players at this football club - and Mark Viduka is one of them."
For McClaren, St Andrew's is not a happy hunting ground after suffering 2-0 and 3-1 defeats on his last two defeats, with the hope the scenario is not repeated.
"If we want to improve on last season then this is a side we have to beat," McClaren said. "Every time we go to St Andrew's we say that, but in the past two visits we've got nothing and I've ended being very angry at the end of each game.
"But the players know what they have to do. I've told them in no uncertain terms, and they are as determined as anybody because we need to do something against Birmingham."