Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Mowbray keen for Boro to keep focus as transfer search goes on
TONY MOWBRAY will refuse to allow Middlesbrough's search for reinforcements to affect his team's focus on starting the new Championship season in style this Saturday.
Mowbray has made no secret of his desire to add to his squad all summer but with time running out before this weekend's curtain raiser against Leicester City he admits to not knowing if anything will be done in time.
Both Dean Whitehead and Jozsef Varga – his two midfield recruits this summer – made first appearances at the Riverside in a 2-1 friendly win over Bordeaux on Saturday during an encouraging overall display.
But Mowbray sympathises with supporters waiting to hear more on the transfer front, particularly in attack following the departures of strikers Scott McDonald and Ishmael Miller since the end of last season.
“We are trying to add one or two bits that can challenge the players we have here, there will be some players to come in,” said Mowbray. “We will wait and see what this week brings regarding signings.
“We need signings, everybody behind the scenes is working hard, it's not easy and it's not through the lack of trying and identifying players.
“How confident am I? I don't know. We are in discussions with clubs. Until things get done, we have to keep going. The players out on the field against Bordeaux, credit to them, against a good side, a strong side. But they do need help.
“I'm conscious of overplaying it because it comes across as moaning. But we do need some added quality for players when they go off the boil, that's fair enough to say that.
“Everybody at the club is on board with that recruitment drive. We are all in the same boat, we all want players in and we are trying hard.”
Talks have hit trouble aimed at bringing Pacos de Ferreira's attacking midfielder Vitor to the Riverside, despite an apparent willingness on the player's part to head for Teesside.
Middlesbrough – not expecting to revive a deal for Napoli's Eduardo Vargas - are also looking to exploit the loan market once Premier League clubs have decided on their squads. Aston Villa's Stephen Ireland remains an option.
While chairman Steve Gibson and chief executive Neil Bausor work on improving a squad which has lost 11 players and brought just two new men in, Mowbray is keen to keep working with those he has available for the visit of Leicester.
“I have been trying to focus on the players I have for the first game for the last week or two,” said the Middlesbrough boss, still interested in landing free agent Ross Turnbull if a loan move for goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler can be arranged.
“The people who have to make these deals happen are working very hard at it. I have to just get on with my team. Yes, I will stay in touch on the phone with chief executives, talk in the afternoons after training to find out what progress has been made, but it's ongoing business really. Nothing imminent.”
While such discussions continue, Middlesbrough signed off pre-season preparations with a decent victory over Bordeaux.
The team's display was encouraging, with Whitehead and Varga both contributing from midfield, but it was in attack which caught the eye.
With the drive for new forwards in full flow, both Marvin Emnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz provided a reminder they are more than capable of forging a partnership together.
It was that combination responsible for both goals. The first arrived when Whitehead's excellent pass sent Jutkiewicz free down the right.
The former Southampton striker rolled in to the path of the unmarked Emnes in front of goal to tap over the line after 20 minutes.
Three minutes after the break Emnes was on hand to make it two when he reacted first to a Jutkiewicz shot which was spilled by goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa.
Bordeaux stepped things up when Middlesbrough started to make substitutions and, after Hadi Sacko was denied by the woodwork twice, Henri Saivet pulled one back with a brilliant chip in to Leutwiler's top left corner with five minutes remaining.
“There's a few different players in there who make a difference for us,” said Mowbray. “But Lukas and Marvin showed in the first half of last season that they could do it, there's no secret to it.
“When the team has been fit, the team can function and win matches. There were circumstances which dictated we lost rhythm and confidence last season. I have no fears that the starting 11 which started against Bordeaux will give everybody in our league a game. We could be in the mix at the right end with that team. But we do need new faces.”
Middlesbrough (4-4-1-1): Steele (Leutwiler 75); Parnaby, Williams, Woodgate (Gibson 60), Friend (Halliday 60); Varga (Dolan 75), Whitehead (Ledesma 69), Leadbitter (Smallwood 60), Carayol (Reach 69); Emnes (Haroun 69); Jutkiewicz (Park 69). Subs all used.
BORDEAUX (4-1-4-1): Carrasso; Chalme, Henrique, Brechet, Poundje; Sertic, Sane; Maurice-Belay, Obraniak, Ben Khalfallah; Saivet. Subs used: Olimpa, Savic, N'Guemo, Vieira, Sacko, Poko, Plasil, Filho, Planus.
Comments are closed on this article.