JONATHAN WOODGATE is hoping Harold Moukoudi’s physical attributes will enable him to make a seamless transition to English football following his move to Middlesbrough.

Moukoudi will feature in Boro’s squad for the first time tomorrow when Woodgate takes his players to Griffin Park to take on a Brentford side that climbed to within three places of the automatic promotion positions when they put five goals past Hull City in their most recent outing.

With Woodgate keen to restore Paddy McNair to his preferred position in central midfield, there is a good chance Moukoudi could go straight into the starting line-up, even though he has only made one senior appearance for St Etienne since the start of December.

The 22-year-old is a senior Cameroon international, and first came to Woodgate’s attention when he impressed in St Etienne’s pre-season friendly at the Riverside last summer.

Standing at more than six foot two, Moukoudi cuts a physically-imposing figure, and his new manager is confident he will have no problem handling the rough and tumble of life in the Championship.

“We did a lot of work on him,” said Woodgate. “He’s a really strong individual. In fact, he’s massive, he’s a real big boy, the same size as Rudy (Gestede) and more thick set than Rudy too, so he’s a big lad. He can play, he’s quick, and he’s good in the air, so let’s see.

“We knew about him. There’s always been positive reports on him. He was a free transfer last season from La Havre, he went to St Etienne, his father didn’t want him to go out of France at that point so we knew it would be difficult to get him but when he came available on loan it was important that we got him.”

Moukoudi’s arrival reduces the need for Woodgate to rush either Ryan Shotton or George Friend back into action, with the duo gradually building their fitness back up after long-term absences.

The defender is not the only deadline-day addition hoping to be involved at the Valley as Ravel Morrison is also pushing for a place in the squad after joining on loan from Sheffield United.

Morrison has trained all week, and is likely to be named on the substitutes’ bench tomorrow as he looks to kick-start a career that has stalled badly in the last few years.

Having burst onto the scene as a highly-rated youngster at Manchester United, the attacking midfielder appeared to have the world at his feet when he moved to West Ham United at the age of just 18.

However, he failed to hold down a starting spot with the Hammers, and has subsequently had an itinerant existence that has seen him play for eight different clubs in four different countries since leaving East London in 2015.

“I am not sure why it hasn’t happened for him long term, but hopefully it will happen for us,” said Woodgate. “The signs are good on the training pitch, he is working really hard. If he keeps training well, he will get his chance in the team.

“You are hitting your peak years when you are 26, 27, 28, so he’s still got that in front of him - we just need to get it out of him. He can play as a ten, he can play off the left, he can play any position. I like my players to be adaptable and play different positions.”

Morrison’s character has been called into question on a number of occasions during his career, but Woodgate insists he has done his homework on the Macunian.

He spoke to a number of different people before signing off on a loan deal, just as was the case with Patrick Roberts and Lukas Nmecha, who joined from Manchester City at the start of last month.

“I do my homework on every single player I have signed, and Ravel is no different to anyone else,” said Woodgate. “Everything I was told was very positive. When I spoke to Chris Wilder, it was very positive about Ravel and what he was like.

“When I meet them face to face, I tend to get to know what they are like. He was humble and down to earth, even shy. When I asked about the Man City lads, I got lots of opinions. I asked Jason Wilcox about Nmecha and Roberts, I asked Brian Kidd about them. Those players are just like Ravel, I treat them all the same before I sign them and after.”