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Mowbray in his biggest test
THE first game of Middlesbrough’s latest assault on the Championship was a managerial milestone for their manager Tony Mowbray.
The 2-1 defeat to Leicester City marked Mowbray’s 141st game in charge of Middlesbrough, which is now his longest spell as a manager.
He lasted 140 games as West Bromwich Albion manager in a spell including a play-off final, an FA Cup semi-final, a promotion to the Premier League and a relegation.
But, as Middlesbrough manager, where he replaced Gordon Strachan in November 2010, the achievements column on his CV do not make as impressive reading.
The most recent preseason was Mowbray’s third at the Riverside Stadium, more than he has had at any other club, and while it is a settled camp in the dugout, the Saltburn-born manager has had to contend with slashing the wage bill, moving players out while being unable to bring a number of players in owing to the financial backdrop.
It is, therefore, fair to say that Mowbray’s time at West Brom stands in stark contrast to his current role.
“This is a much greater challenge than the one at West Brom,” said Mowbray.
“I took over West Brom after they had been relegated. We got to the playoff final the first year and then won the league the year after that.
“We sold a whole team there. We sold the likes of Curtis Davies for £11m, Diomansy Kamara, Jason Koumas – we had a lot of money to reinvest back into the team.
“We bought the likes of James Morrison, Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans and Marc-Antoine Fortune, people who are still playing for West Brom now.
“How does it differ? We’ve had no resale value on any of our players here really.
“Joe Bennett is the only player we’ve really sold for any money.
“There hasn’t been any money to invest in the team.
The phone hasn’t really rung for any players.
“I know your job is to work with the players you’ve got, but you try to change your team around and the difference at West Brom was that we managed to buy a new team. We weren’t able to do that here.”
Mowbray has, by and large, retained the support of the fans at Middlesbrough.
There are, as in all clubs, factions of the support who want change, but Mowbray has shown in the past that he can pick a player, and remains hopeful that despite the money drying up at Middlesbrough, he can still create a side to match his successes at West Brom.
“Let’s try and get the players in that we want and that we think can help,”
“The context is where you try to add. Real Madrid add 100m Euros footballers to their squad.
“We aren’t asking for that, but we’re trying to get good footballers.
“We’ve added some free transfers in the past, but (Lukas) Jutkiewicz is the only player I’d say we’ve spent serious money on.
“If (Mustapha) Carayol plays so many games he might cost us £300,000 but that’s still a relatively small signing for a Championship club.
“I’m hoping over the next week or two we’re going to invest in some quality that will take the club to where we want it to go.”
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