Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Mowbray trying to sign defender
TONY MOWBRAY is hoping to make at least one new signing in time for tomorrow's game against Blackpool - but it is unlikely to be the striker he is desperate for.
Much of the talk surrounding Boro this week has centered around their attempts to sign Ross McCormack or Tokelo Rantie, but The Northern Echo understands Mowbray is trying to sign a defender.
Although he has stressed the need to bring in one, if not two, forwards before the transfer window closes - talks remain ongoing to land their targets - Mowbray has also openly talked about the need to bring in more defensive cover.
The Boro boss does not want to rely on Jonathan Woodgate being able to play up to three matches a week and, although Rhys Williams appears to be over his injury troubles, Seb Hines is still struggling, leaving youngster Ben Gibson as cover.
Boro have been linked with Norwich City's Daniel Ayala, who spent time on loan at Nottingham Forest last season, already this summer.
"We need competition in all areas of the field and don't be surprised if we bring in another defender to create even more competition," Mowbray said. "I think ultimately we conceded too many goals last season and we need to have more competition to push players so I wouldn't be surprised if another defender comes in on top of Frazer (Richardson).
"They have to fight for their position. We are trying to create competition which brings an intensity and focus to the team."
Boro have reportedly had two bids turned down by Leeds for McCormack, while Malmo have also rejected their advances for Rantie.
Work continues to go on behind the scenes in the hope of a deal being struck and it is understood that Leeds could be tempted to sell the Scottish international if Boro push their bid up to £1.5m.
Mowbray rubbished reports linking him with a move for Rapid Vienna's Terrence Boyd and although he doesn't envisage having a new striker in before tomorrow, the Boro boss admitted there could be another arrival.
He said: "We might have someone in by Saturday, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's him (McCormack). I'd say it is very unlikely it'll be him. Rantie won't be in by the weekend either.
"I leave that (transfer deals) to the men is suits. Neil (Bauser) is on a train coming back from London. I don't know where it is. I have had conversations with Brian McDermott and then after that I generally leave it to men in suits to get on with the talking."
Mowbray is waiting on the fitness of Jason Steele, who suffered an ankle injury in the latter stages of last weekend's win over Charlton, but indications suggest he has a good chance of playing tomorrow.
Grant Leadbitter has also recovered from a knock he sustained at the Valley, meaning Mowbray will have more or less the same squad to pick from for the visit of Blackpool.
Last season, the Boro boss was criticised at times for tinkering with his starting XI too often, but he insists he will continue to pick a team he believes will be capable of competing with teams each week.
"We've got Albert (Adomah) and (Mustapha) Carayol, but it doesn't mean they will play every week," Mowbray said. "If we buy more strikers in it doesn't mean they have to play every week. Juke (Lukas Jutkiewicz) and (Marvin) Emnes might start one week and new signings have to sit on the bench.
"We live in a media-driven world. Everyone's got an opinion and yet we'll pick teams we think will win matches. You can't win every game in this league - everyone seems to think at times you have to.
"You pick your strengths against your weaknesses. If you have a really fast winger why wouldn't you use him against their slow, passing defender?
"These days, having 13-man squads for 56 games just doesn't work, so it's about having lots of very good players who can come in when needed and sit out when we decide to play a certain way."
*Boro fans are planning a minutes applause in support of former player Gary Parkinson during tomorrow's game.
Parkinson, who also played for Blackpool during his career, suffers from a condition known as Locked In Syndrome.
After some discussion it was decided to choose the 25th minute, combining the two shirt numbers Parkinson usually wore during his Boro days.
His face will be displayed on the screen and fans of both teams will be invited to join in with the tribute to the 45-year-old.