The wait goes on for Strachan and Cooper
At London Road.
Peterborough manager Mark Cooper and Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan were united by a common purpose at London Road on Saturday as both men searched for their first victory since they took charge of their respective clubs.
The wait goes on after an entertaining 2-2 draw, but you suspect that the need is most urgent for Strachan.
Boro have collected just two points from his four games in charge at the club. He took over with them one point off top spot; and they are now 13 adrift. Rivals Newcastle occupy first place - and that cannot help.
Boro have picked up just two points under Strachan
Strachan's mandate is clear - to ensure that Boro's flirtation with the Championship ends in May. The fact that chairman Steve Gibson, normally so patient with his managers, sacked Gareth Southgate hours after a victory hints at the sense of urgency within the Boro boardroom.
The Scot himself arrived at the Riverside months after parting company with Celtic. He was at pains to stress that he didn't need the job; he had taken it because he wanted it.
At his first news conference Strachan described the Championship as an exciting division, yet prior to the match with Posh it had become "a hard, hard league, with nothing cosmic about the football".
With two defeats, one draw and one goal prior to Saturday, Strachan's learning curve had been steep and quick.
It looked for much of Saturday as though his team would collect three points. They were the better team, regularly testing Posh's excellent young keeper Joe Lewis, but also wasting some first-rate chances.
The worst of the lot was a weak header wide of goal from six yards by an unmarked Leroy Lita after another teasing and deadly accurate cross from Adam Johnson.
Strachan was bristling on the touchline for much of the match and admitted afterwards that poor finishing is one of the factors letting his side down.
Scoring goals is obviously an urgent problem for the manager, who has brought in Marcus Bent and David Kitson on loan. Only the other day Strachan said the teams with good goalscorers are the ones that will be promoted.
Kitson, who scored twice against Peterborough, played in the area behind Lita on Saturday and exploited the space with an intelligence that suggests he will be a good signing. Lita and Kitson played together at Reading and should have a ready-made understanding of each other's games.
Strachan is also concerned by what he calls his team's lack of awareness; the split-second decision making required to snuff out a dangerous situation before the opposition can exploit it.
He might also have mentioned set-piece defending as Boro looked vulnerable against corners and, particularly, the extraordinarily long throw-ins delivered by Posh debutant Exodus Geohaghon (rumour has it he can throw the ball from one side of the pitch to the other).
Perhaps the third ingredient Boro desperately need at the moment is a slice of luck. They were denied a cast-iron penalty late on when Aaron McLean clearly tripped Sean St. Ledger. Strachan alluded to as much when he talked about the footballing Gods being against his team.
Boro are not exactly up and running under Strachan but, as Cooper argued afterwards, once they notch their first win they have the quality to start eating up the ground between their current 10th place and the top reaches of the table.
Not that this is of much comfort to the belligerent and taciturn Strachan - the Scot describing the whole situation as "very frustrating". I suspect many supporters will share his analysis.
I asked Strachan whether he had noticed an improvement day-to-day on the training ground since he had taken over.
"Training doesn't matter, it's just preparation," he told me. "The reality is that you are judged by what happens on the football field."
In contrast, Cooper seemed relatively satisfied after he collected his first point as a Championship manager.
"I am happy with the effort but we just need a little more belief," he said. "But it is definitely encouraging."
The match was Cooper's second in charge since he leapt four divisions after leaving Blue Square Premier side Kettering for Posh.
His ascent has been so rapid that if he was a climber he would need oxygen but I think it refreshing to see a young manager from non-league football given an opportunity rather than a chairman plucking one of the same old names off the managerial merry-go-round.
In many ways his appointment is in complete contrast to Boro's decision to exchange a rookie manager in Southgate for a more experienced figure.
Of course, nobody seems to know why Cooper's predecessor Darren Ferguson left London Road. I heard some unprintable theories on Saturday but I suppose rumours are inevitable if the club fail to adequately explain the Scot's departure.
Owner Darragh MacAnthony talked of a new era in his programme notes on Saturday. As part of the interview process he had given interview candidates 16 tapes of Posh games to study overnight.
Cooper, unlike many others, went through the lot of them, impressing with his detailed analysis.
Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony was impressed by new boss Mark Cooper's knowledge of Posh
Whether this means he is the right man to drag Peterborough up the table remains to be seen but he does not seem to lack enthusiasm and his team played with plenty of spirit on Saturday after twice falling behind.
Substitute Shaun Batt scored a sensational goal to secure a point and afterwards explained some of the things Cooper has been working on in training. Posh played with adventurous full-backs under Ferguson but Cooper is apparently insisting they concentrate on their defensive duties and leave the attacking to the forwards.
It seems like a good starting point to me. Posh have been far too porous this season, with only Scunthorpe conceding more. Cooper needs to ensure they become hard to beat and must address the fact that the side have trailed at half-time in 12 of their 18 Championship fixtures.
Success for Cooper this season will mean keeping rock-bottom Posh in the Championship. I think that would be an excellent and welcome achievement - especially given Peterborough have not won since 24 October.
Peterborough's old-fashioned ground, with meagre facilities but plenty of character, is a pleasant antidote to the increasing number of number of ever so slightly soulless modern stadiums.
Walking away from it towards the station on Saturday I saw a young lad in a Boro shirt stood outside a bookies.
I wonder what odds he would get on Middlesbrough winning promotion and Peterborough staying up?