Boro boss hopes cup exit will help his cause as striker search stutters (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Boro boss hopes cup exit will help his cause as striker search stutters
MIDDLESBROUGH are having to rethink their striker search after being told Leeds United are in no mood to allow Ross McCormack to leave Elland Road for less than his valuation this month.
Despite a delay in announcing the arrival of winger Albert Adomah, the Bristol City winger is expected back on Teesside today when his £1m switch from Ashton Gate has been finalised.
The 25-year-old is in line to make his debut at Charlton on Saturday, but Tony Mowbray’s hopes of having a new striker to call on at The Valley are fading fast.
McCormack is Mowbray’s number one choice after a summer in which attempts to bring in a number of different overseas attacking options has failed to materialise.
But after a £1m offer was rejected by Leeds, Middlesbrough are faced with having to consider alternatives or at least double their initial bid for the former Cardiff City man, which would seem unlikely.
Even though Leeds need to raise funds before they can bring in more new faces, manager Brian McDermott does not see the point in offloading one of his most saleable assets if it does not suit the club.
“We’ve had a couple of bids for players which we’ve rejected,” McDermott said, who has also been made aware of an earlier, similar bid from Blackpool. “I’m not interested. It would be wrong for us in my opinion. Wrong for the players too.”
McDermott, who watched the 26-year-old hit the winner in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Brighton, does have four other strikers to call on in the form of Matt Smith, Noel Hunt, Luke Varney and Dominic Poleon.
He knows, though, that McCormack is highly-rated by the club’s fans, while a substantial weekly wage could also provide something of a stumbling block if Middlesbrough got to the point of discussing personal terms.
Former Southampton striker Billy Sharp and ex-Leeds forward Luciano Becchio are two forwards who have both been on Mowbray’s radar in the past who could come back in to Middlesbrough’s thinking. As the weeks go by, both players could become available for loan at both Southampton and Norwich City.
Middlesbrough reiterated a desire to strengthen his attacking options after Tuesday night’s defeat to Accrington Stanley in the first round of the Capital One Cup at the Riverside Stadium.
It was another occasion when Middlesbrough failed to convert the chances and turn possession in to enough goals to see a game through, having taken the lead and lost a game for the second game in a row.
But Mowbray, trying to stay as positive as he can during difficult times, is hoping an early exit in a competition which saw them play five extra fixtures last season – four in midweek – because of a run to the last-eight.
“I don’t think it was as low as I’ve felt as Middlesbrough manager,” said Mowbray. “We are all disappointed with the defeat to Accrington, of course we are. “But I think we went a long way in this competition last year, played a lot of midweek games on the back of it, and when you get knocked out in a quarter-final and your league form suffers, after playing a lot of league games, nobody mentions the Capital One Cup run you had.
“Nobody talks about how well we did in it and how well we played in the nights and games away at Gillingham, Preston and Sunderland. Nobody was interested really when we had gone out.
“We have to put the defeat to Accrington behind us pretty quickly. We have to hope it helps us without the midweek games in the cup to win Saturday matches.
“That’s what we have to do ultimately and we are trying to build a team that can do that. There were some positives in some of our progressive play against Accrington, but the huge negative is losing.”
After a warm down session at the club’s Rockliffe Park training base yesterday, Middlesbrough’s first team squad are expected back in today for a full session ahead of the trip to Charlton on Saturday.
Given the frustrations of last season, it is already quickly approaching the stage where Middlesbrough are in desperate need of a victory – and Mowbray has the task of lifting his squad after back-to-back defeats.
He is confident the players will recover from losing to League Two opposition, particularly when Adomah trains with the squad today provided the Football Association gives Middlesbrough the go-ahead to formally confirm the Ghana international’s arrival.
Mowbray said: “The players have to lift themselves. In my mind they should be disappointed, frustrated, and will feel the hurt of it like we all do. I’m sure they will all recover because we all do. They are good pros, good people. They will rally round themselves as a group and come out stronger I’m sure.”
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