8:00am Monday 12th August 2013
By Paul Fraser
TONY MOWBRAY is prepared to wait for the right players to improve his squad for the long-haul rather than rush in to short-term solutions in his bid to build on Middlesbrough's first victory of the season.
Mowbray was a satisfied man at The Valley on Saturday after watching his team turn in a performance displaying both defensive solidity and attacking verve against Charlton Athletic.
Lukas Jutkiewicz's headed winner 18 minutes from time proved decisive. Unlike during Middlesbrough's opening two defeats of the campaign, Mowbray watched his side preserve their one-goal advantage and secure a much-needed win.
But the first win of the season – only the fourth league victory since the turn of the year - has not detracted the Boro boss from his intention to strengthen his squad.
He spent yesterday away from the North-East trying to work on a deal, with a new striker top of his wish-list. Leeds United's Ross McCormack remains in his sights, but the Elland Road club have already knocked back a £1m offer from the Riverside Stadium.
There is also believed to be an interest in Malmo's South African forward Tokelo Rantie, 22, along with Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers.
And he could have a little more cash to play with if Millwall's tentative interest in right-back Justin Hoyte, not even among the substitutes at Charlton, is followed up.
Mowbray, though, will not be doing anything before the transfer window shuts on September 2 if he does not feel it is right for the team he is putting together.
“Let's see if we can get things done,” said Mowbray. “It's important we get the right ones and we don't just bring players in for the sake of it who become squad players.
“We talked in the summer about the need to get core players, players who can play 40-odd games a season for us. It's not easy to do that because teams don't want to sell their best players. We have to be patient. Let's see what happens as the window unfolds.”
He added: “The loan market opens a week after the window shuts. I would prefer to sign players who are ours. It's important we get the right ones, not just another to compete on the bench.”
The departure of Scott McDonald to Millwall earlier this summer meant – on the back of a number of other decent earners leaving – that suddenly Middlesbrough's wage bill was at the point where Mowbray had some room for manoeuvre.
Albert Adomah's arrival from Bristol City for £1m has given Middlesbrough another dimension down the right and he impressed on his debut at The Valley.
And the way Middlesbrough played at Charlton offered hope of better results to come, even if they were still short of creating too many clear cut opportunities in front of goal.
“We feel now we have an opportunity to bring players in to help us become a really good side,” said Mowbray. “The danger is that you can't get the players you want. You just compound the issue by rushing in to deals you don't want.
“I understand the negativity while you wait for that to happen. We have to keep going and try to build a team and we are.
“We had to get a result and we got one. I can understand why everybody wants to see results. But we are trying to put together a new team. We are short on numbers.
“The season is off and running and now it's about accumulating points. We let everybody else panic. I am confident we will win matches with that team we have. The balance of the team is good. We have to make sure this team stays fit.”
While the performance of Adomah added something extra on the right, there was also a solid display from the other debutant, Frazer Richardson, at right-back.
Defensively Richardson was strong, even though a few of his passes failed to find their target. Mowbray was impressed.
“The word I'd use to describe Frazer's display is immaculate, really,” said Mowbray. “Frazer's personality, his drive, his manliness, has hit us in the face since he came to us.
“Thankfully it was a deal which suited the boy and we have got him in. He showed all of those qualities and he tied that part of the pitch up for us.
“He does the job. You need some of those in your team. When it is January, February, when there is no grass on the pitch, you need players who just do that job. Richardson fits the bill.”
Goalkeeper Jason Steele will be assessed again this morning to determine the extent of the ankle problem which he sustained at The Valley. He was withdrawn with 14 minutes remaining as a precautionary measure.
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