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Mowbray unsure what future holds for Marvin at Boro
TONY MOWBRAY has challenged Marvin Emnes to prove he is up to spearheading Middlesbrough's Championship assault – even if he could yet be sold this month.
Emnes found the net for only the second time this year with a stoppage-time equaliser against Blackpool on Saturday when he was introduced as a substitute in the second half.
The 25-year-old hardly celebrated – even though he insisted afterwards he was 'happy' – but his goal prevented Middlesbrough from starting the new campaign with three consecutive home defeats.
Mowbray is working hard on trying to add to his squad and Leeds United's Ross McCormack remains his preferred attacking option despite having two offers rebuffed so far.
But the Middlesbrough manager knows that a firing Emnes, who scored 18 goals two seasons ago, would be a very useful unit if he can get him to fire on a consistent basis.
A failure to get the best out of the Dutchman regularly, though, has got Mowbray thinking about selling him if the right offer comes along.
The Boro boss said: “Let's see what the next few weeks bring. Hopefully he stays and gets his head on, performs like we know he can, because he would be a big asset for us.
“If, for whatever reason, he feels his time is not here then we will see what happens. If he does leave the club and it's right for the club, then we will see.
“He has the technique and talent to be part of the team we are trying to build. If his personality does not allow him to use that talent on the field then we will have to look at other options.
“I hope we can get through to him. He has been here a few years and let's wait and see. If something comes along and it allows us to change a few things we might look at that. At the minute that's not happening and he is with us.”
Swansea City have had a long-standing interest in Emnes and manager Michael Laudrup is still looking for an extra forward. Since having a substantial offer rejected 12 months ago, though, the Swans have been targeting different players.
The breakdown of the switch to Swansea has been cited as one of the reasons for his dip in form last season, when he was in and out of the the Middlesbrough team.
And since the arrival of Albert Adomah, Emnes has not started Middlesbrough's last two games. On his last start against Accrington he was booed by sections of the Middlesbrough support.
Mowbray said: “Marvin is a high quality footballer. I shook his hand and he was happy in the dressing room. He has to get on with it.
“He is a young player and I think every professional footballer has suffered booing at times. You have to continue to work hard and when the chance comes to put it right, if you're a striker, you score a goal and deal with it.
“I have never doubted his ability or technique. In my mind he has had a few things going on his life. But had that been another one of our team on the end of that in the box then it might not have ended up in the back of the net. Thankfully it ended with Marvin. He struck it perfectly and in it went.”
While Middlesbrough continue to pursue a striker, there has also been progress on the defensive front and both Norwich's Daniel Ayala and West Brom's Craig Dawson are among those under consideration.
Mowbray – who insisted Millwall have not been in contact about signing Justin Hoyte – is confident things will still be done before September 2.
He said: “For the last two days my focus has only been on the team, being ready for the game. Our search for attacking options continues. I would be hopeful they will be in before the window shuts.
“The evidence is there for us all we need different options. We are aware of people who we feel can score 20 goals a season.”
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