Tony Mowbray will head into Christmas more than satisfied with his lot after seeing his new-look squad mount a genuine promotion challenge.
The Teessiders will arrive at Leeds on Saturday sitting in third place in the Championship table, a point behind Crystal Palace in second and just three adrift of leaders Cardiff.
A return to the Premier League at the fourth time of asking has been Mowbray's main priority from the off and as the halfway stage approaches, he is happy with what has been achieved so far.
He said: "We are doing okay. There was a huge change around in our squad last summer. A lot of players left.
"We have built a new squad and as with any new squad that's put together - 10, 11 new players came in - it takes time to gel, so to be sitting third after 22 games coming up to Christmas, we are doing okay.
"We are in touch. There have been plenty of opportunities that have slipped through our fingers, really, where we could have picked up more points, but we would probably have taken where we sit at the moment at the start of the season when we were putting together a new team."