David Wheater has slammed Middlesbrough fans saying the amount of empty seats and lack of atmosphere is like playing in a reserves game.
Gordon Strachan's men have failed to live up to their promotion favourites label this season with lacklustre performances leading to home crowds dipping in numbers - with almost 20,000 less than a decade ago.
And the Redcar-born centre-half is disappointed to see so many empty seats at the Riverside following the side's troubling start to the season.
"Sometimes you run out and it feels like a reserve game," the 23-year-old told the Daily Star.
"When I was younger, we used to have reserve games at the Riverside with the fans on one side of the ground.
"It's almost like that now with so many empty seats you can see."
Boro have picked up just one point out of their last nine with many fans already losing faith in their side's Scottish boss.
However Wheater has backed the former Celtic manager and insists all is not lost for Boro in their quest for promotion this season - likening their shaky start to Sunderland's stumble when they went up.
Turning their season around begins with the visit of Leeds United for their next Championship encounter.
"You look at Sunderland when they went up. They were nearly bottom at Christmas so there is always hope," he added.
"They went on a terrific run and that's what we need to do, starting now."