Mowbray: Judge us after transfer window closes

First published in Football The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray insists it would be wrong to write off his side's chances of challenging for promotion until after the transfer window has closed.

Mowbray drafted in former Hartlepool United goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos on a short-term loan until January yesterday, who will provide cover for Jason Steele should Jayson Leutwiler head out on loan.

Steele is a big doubt for today's game against Blackpool having picked up an ankle knock against Charlton last weekend, but it is thought the problem shouldn't keep him out for long.

That means Konstantopoulos could make his debut 24 hours after signing, but The Northern Echo understands Mowbray's attempts to sign a defender couldn't be finalised in time for today's game.

Mowbray has been linked with a move for Norwich City defender Daniel Ayala, while work is also continuing on his search for a new striker or two. Leeds United's Ross McCormack and Malmo's Tokelo Rantie remain targets.

After a disappointing start to the new campaign, which saw the Teessiders suffer back-to-back defeat at the Riverside, some have already written off Boro's chances of challenging for a play-off spot.

Their pessimism hasn't been helped by a lack of signings with only four new players arriving during a summer that has seen 11 leave.

But Mowbray isn't ready to comment on whether his side can compete with the league's fancied teams, insisting judgment shouldn't be made until his squad is complete.

"I think the answer to that is in our recruitment over the next two weeks," the Boro boss said.

"The transfer window doesn't shut yet. Let's see who comes in and lets see which strikers, which defenders we get.

"Can we add the goals to our game? Can we add the defensive cover to our team that will enable us to keep going? We are trying and let's wait and see."

Blackpool are without key men Tom Ince, who is suspended, and Matt Phillips today and having ran out 4-2 winners last time the sides met at the Riverside, Mowbray is confident going into today's game.

"They have high quality in the top end in Tom Ince and Matt Phillips, they're top players, but fortunately they won't be playing.

"We've had some of our worst results against Blackpool in recent years. They play a certain type of football where they let you attack them and then they attack you.

"We're expecting a tough game, they've won their first two league matches so it's a good test."

Meanwhile, Boro winger Adam Reach has joined League One side Shrewsbury on a one-month loan deal.

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