TONY MOWBRAY has moved to improve his recruitment team by appointing former Middlesbrough team-mate Gary Gill as his European scout.

Gill, part of the squad captained by Mowbray which claimed promotion following liquidation in 1986, has been appointed in a full-time capacity and has already started to work on potential transfer targets.

The 46-year-old has been working as a pundit for BBC Tees for a number of years and has spent the last few seasons commentating on Middlesbrough's matches alongside Alastair Brownlee and Mark Drury.

Mowbray has been actively working on improving the club's scouting system since taking over from Gordon Strachan a year ago this month.

He has a number of scouts watching matches in different corners of the world and is also close to bringing in an analyst to help build a database to store players' details.

One of the things that has frustrated Mowbray since taking over was the lack of information to hand regarding players from around the world.

But Gill, as well as a new analyst, are already casting the net for Mowbray and are set to dramatically improve how Middlesbrough go about monitoring possible transfer leads.

Boro will continue to use former chief scout Jack Watson and ex-Hartlepool chief scout Tommy Miller, but it will be Gill heading for the continent to run the rule over players.

Gill made his Middlesbrough debut in the 1983-84 season and went on to make 97 appearances for the club.

He had two seasons at neighbours Darlington, making 68 appearances, before ending his career after one season at Cardiff City in 1991-92 and he went on to manage Gateshead ten years later.

Mowbray - who already has former '86 team-mates Stephen Pears, Mark Proctor and Colin Cooper with him at Boro - wants to be in a position as manager to have targets in mind when the finances improve.

There is a small pot of cash available if the right deal presents itself, although there is an acceptance that only promotion or a big money departure will significantly improve the manager's hand on the transfer front.

Mowbray knows the challenge must be to keep Middlesbrough in the Championship's top two this season after making an unbeaten start to the campaign.

There is only one point separating them from third-placed Derby County ahead of Saturday's visit of Millwall to the Riverside Stadium. There is, though, a wave of optimism around Teesside following the impressive start.

Midfielder Barry Robson, who was an unused substitute for Scotland in their Tuesday defeat to Spain alongside Stephen McManus, hopes the fans can continue to show the same support - knowing there was under 17,000 for their last home date with Leicester.

"It felt like I was back playing for Celtic, the amount of fans that were at Reading. It is great to see that," he said. "When I played at Celtic there used to be thousands of fans at away games and it felt a bit like that and it's great.

"It's a hard time at the moment money-wise and Middlesbrough isn't a massively affluent place. People work very hard. It's great for them to come and support us but it's hard for families to come and pay that sort of money to watch football matches.

"It's a bit sad. I've always said football is over priced, I couldn't afford to go to matches when I was a kid but that's the way football is.

"You can't get any better from your fans. They're the best fans in the world for the way they're cheering us on at the moment and following us around the country."