Tomlin keen to strike up perfect Boro pairing

6:00am Thursday 6th February 2014

By Paul Fraser

MIDDLESBROUGH new-boy Lee Tomlin has been backed to hit it off with fellow deadline day recruit Danny Graham when the attacking duo eventually partner each other in attack.

Tomlin has had his first couple of training sessions with his new team-mates over the last couple of days but he will not be able to figure for Boro until the visit of Leeds United on February 22 due to suspension.

By the time the 25-year-old is available again he thinks the extra time getting to know Aitor Karanka’s system and way of playing can help him hit the ground running.

And Tomlin has been told to expect to be able to strike up a quick understanding with Graham when Karanka does call on him in Middlesbrough’s attempts to stay with the Championship’s play-off pack.

The latter arrived from Sunderland on loan after his season-long loan at Hull City was cancelled after a frustrating time at the KC Stadium, where he played alongside one of Tomlin’s former Peterborough team-mates.

Tomlin, a loan signing until the end of the campaign from London Road, said: “I have spoken to George Boyd who has been training with him and playing with him this season. George thinks it will work perfectly with Danny and me – and I like the sound of that.

“I like to thread balls through for those in front of me and he likes to finish things off, so in that sense it should work. Let’s hope we can get it working as soon as we start playing together.”

Tomlin is likely to be played behind the striker in his preferred supporting role, particularly following the departure of Marvin Emnes to Swansea City last Friday.

But firstly the former Rushden & Diamons forward must serve the rest of his ban, knowing he still has two serve a further two games of the suspension he was handed for a third red card since October.

The last of those arrived in a 5-4 defeat at Oldham on January 25 and his record of dismissals this season – which have taken his tally of reds to eight in his career – could paint a picture of a player with a poor disciplinary streak.

Tomlin said: “The third one was a deliberate handball. It was 4-3 to Peterborough at the time, I was on the post for a corner and when the ball came over and was going for the goal I thought if I took it then we could still win the game. It was the linesman rather than the referee who gave it.

“The other two reds, one was two yellows and one was a straight red. But when I got sent off against Oldham it just happened to be me on the post. It was a quick decision and everyone would do it in football.

“I remember Darren Ferguson saying to me that I play on the edge. It’s similar to Wayne Rooney. Obviously he has calmed down a lot with experience, so Darren Ferguson was trying to get me to calm down.

“I have not had too many red cards in the past. It has only happened in the last few months. I have not had too many problems with discipline; it’s just one or two things. It’s about learning from those.”

Tomlin burst on to the scene at Rushden & Diamons as a teenager and attracted interest from Liverpool. After a week’s trial there, he returned to Rushden and was bought by Peterborough in the summer of 2010.

Over the last couple of years he has been on Middlesbrough’s transfer radar and the Leicester-born forward wondered whether the move would ever materialise.

Tomlin, who could move to the Riverside permanently in a £1m-plus deal in the summer, said: “I know they have been interested a few times but it was Peterborough’s valuation. It was not that much of a surprise when they came back in. I am just happy to be here and that it has happened. I just keep smiling.

“It’s a massive deal and another step in the direction for me in my career. The deal arrived late on deadline day and I had to drive to Peterborough to get it tied up. I am going to miss Peterborough but that’s football.

“I had a trial at 16 at Liverpool and it never came off. I was playing most weeks for Rushden and I went there for a week’s trial. I played two reserve games. I came on in both games. Jack Hobbs, Danny Guthrie, Paul Anderson all played. There were a few who went on to do alright.

“I was very young. When it didn’t work out I just went back to play for Rushden. I didn’t have much time to think about it. I had a game the day after they said ‘no’. “Now it’s about Middlesbrough for me. I want to just get playing, help the team in to the play-offs. I will work hard and try to show what I can do. I’m not concentrating on the summer, I just want to show what I can do.”

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