7:00am Tuesday 1st October 2013
By Richard Mason
TONY MOWBRAY fully believes in his Middlesbrough side as they go in search of their first victory since August tonight.
Boro are without a win in the Championship since defeating Charlton Athletic on August 10, a run that has spanned seven matches, but Mowbray remains confident his side will start getting the results some positive displays have deserved.
However, Middlesbrough lost 2-0 at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday in the Teessiders’ worst performance of the season, increasing the pressure on manager Mowbray, who has picked up just four league wins in 2013.
Mowbray admitted that Steve Gibson is not impressed with results, but continues to have the full support of his chairman three years after taking charge of the club.
“There’s pressure on every football manager,” explained Mowbray, whose side host Yeovil Town on Saturday before the international break.
“Someone told me I was the longest serving manager in the Championship. We’ve been building a team. It has been completely overhauled and it needed to be overhauled for various reasons.
“It wasn’t a case of me not liking some players, financially we had to go with the players we could and move some players on. It’s a new team, there have been plenty of positives this year, but invariably the positive games have been drawn rather than won.
“Hopefully two victories will give a better feel about the place. The fans need to see three points and I need to see the victories stacking up.
“We’ll go in with a positive frame of mind, because I think while the points tally isn’t what we like it to be, there are enough positives to go into tonight’s game full of confidence.
On Gibson, Mowbray said: “He looks at the results, don’t worry. But he knows the situation.
“He’s a hands-on chairman. Football is a results industry, you want to be judged on your own team and this is getting to be our own team.”
While Mowbray has been able to strengthen his side with the signings of Albert Adomah, Jacob Butterfield and Kei Kamara, defence remains a concern despite the summer signing of Frazer Richardson. Mowbray - who tried to bring Richard Dunne in over the summer and saw a loan deal collapse late on Friday - feels his problems in defence are undermining team performances.
“Results have been hard to come by but I totally believe in the team,” said Mowbray. “We need to solve the goals conceded and we’ve been trying to do that all summer. There are lots of positives in the team, dynamic players, pace out wide, creative midfield players, destructive midfield players, we need to solve some problems at the back and I think we’ll be fine.
“I enquired myself about Richard Dunne two months ago and yet the deal was done for him to go to QPR, on Premier League wages when they’d lost Chris Samba for £12m on wages of £200 per week. He’s on a Premier League salary, it was out of our scale to add him. He’s been an integral part of the reason they’ve conceded only two goals.
“On Friday, we had the shirt with the name and number going down to London, the player was registered, yet we took a call and they had an injury and he had to stay, that’s how close we were.
“We can’t do anything about that. That search continues, he might come back if the injuries clear up, we’ve enquired with one or two people, let’s wait and see.”
Huddersfield have enjoyed, by contrast, a fine start to the season, and Mowbray expects a tough game for Middlesbrough.
“They’ve got power and pace and have some good players,” said Mowbray. “They play with wing-backs and three at the back, they spread the pitch right out. Adam Hammill plays right-back but he’s essentially a winger so he’ll be a threat. James Vaughan’s scored eight goals now, Jon Stead has scored against Boro in the past.
“They’re a dangerous side so they have obvious threats. It’s not an easy game but one we have to target for three points.
“We’ve got two home games and we have to be looking to win both. That’ll take us into the international break where we can do a bit of work.”
Ben Gibson will start his first league game at the Riverside tonight, with Rhys Williams coming back from suspension and Jonathan Woodgate missing out with a calf injury.
Mowbray hopes to have Woodgate back in harness for the Yeovil match but admits he needs to treat his veteran centre-half with kid gloves.
“Woodgate’s played every game so far,” said Mowbray. “I think it’s an accumulation of things with Woody. He played three games on the bounce, in a seven-eight day period, he didn’t train last week, but played Saturday. He’s not going to be involved on Tuesday and we don’t know about the weekend.”
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