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Boro without a breakthrough in loan search
TONY MOWBRAY is planning for this Saturday's trip to the capital without the extra defender he has been looking to sign on loan for Middlesbrough.
Mowbray has decided an extra option across his backline is a priority after seeing his Boro team keep just one clean sheet from eight Championship matches.
Middlesbrough have also conceded eight goals in their last three games and a change will be required at Queens Park Rangers this weekend because of a one-match suspension to captain Rhys Williams.
But Mowbray is not willing to just bring in any new face for the sake of it and is prepared to head to Loftus Road with youngster Ben Gibson at the heart of his defence.
Norwich City's Daniel Ayala and West Brom's Craig Dawson are two of the players most liked by Mowbray but a breakthrough has not arrived in time so alternatives are being considered.
Gibson, 20, has made just three substitute appearances in the Championship – the latest of which was late in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Bournemouth - for Middlesbrough and is yet to start in the league.
But he has shown he possesses the right character to deliver at that level, while also looking like he has the defensive quality to do well.
Seb Hines is unlikely to make an immediate return to the starting line-up after recovering from injury but he could make the bench.
Hines has not played since undergoing knee surgery in April but was left out of Monday's Under-21s game with Sunderland in case he might be needed to face QPR.
The centre-back trained with the first team yesterday at Rockliffe Park and showed no signs of ill-effects. If he is fine over the next 48 hours he could travel to London.
Williams, meanwhile, has been included in the Australia squad for two friendlies next month.
The defender is part of a 24-man pool selected to face France in Paris on October 11 and then Canada at Craven Cottage on Tuesday, October 15.
Bryn Morris and Bradley Fewster have been selected for the England Under-18s squad's two friendlies with Hungary on October 11.