Hines to push claims in Carlisle friendly

26 July 2011 08:30
SEB Hines will push his claims for an opening-day starting spot when Middlesbrough play their penultimate pre-season friendly at Carlisle United this evening.[LNB] Hines missed the final five games of last season after suffering a horror injury against Ipswich Town that left his jaw fractured in two places.[LNB] The 23-year-old was omitted from the squad that travelled to Slovenia for a three-game tour earlier this month, but featured in last week's reserves win over Harrogate Town and was a second-half substitute in Saturday's 4-2 defeat at Darlington.[LNB] He is expected to start alongside skipper Matthew Bates as Boro visit Brunton Park tonight, with Tony Mowbray still assessing his options ahead of next month's opening Championship fixture with Portsmouth.[LNB] Stephen McManus and Rhys Williams are also available at centre-half, but having performed strongly prior to his injury in April, Hines is hoping to reclaim a place in the first team.[LNB] I want to get my place in the team again, said the defender. I want to get back to the level I was at, and I'm confident I can forget about the injury.[LNB] It came at the wrong time. No time is a good time to be injured, but I was having a good run in the team after waiting for my chance to show what I could do.[LNB] It came at the worst possible moment, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm just looking forward to this season now.[LNB] I played at Harrogate and that was my first game for a test of my jaw, then got half an hour at Darlington. I hope to be involved at Carlisle again to build my fitness up.[LNB] Despite making his senior debut in January 2007, Hines has accumulated just 20 senior starts for the Teessiders.[LNB] Fourteen of them came last season, with the Yorkshireman impressing as injuries limited Mowbray's options in the second half of the campaign.[LNB] His form alerted a number of prospective suitors, and Premier League Bolton Wanderers were credited with a strong interest in his services earlier this summer.[LNB] A deal now looks unlikely, with Bolton boss Owen Coyle poised to sign Burnley defender Tyrone Mears instead, but Hines insists he paid little attention to reports linking him with a move away from the Riverside anyway.[LNB] Instead, he focused his attention on completing his recovery from the gruesome jaw injury that resulted from a seemingly innocuous collision with Joe Bennett.[LNB] It's good to have teams interested in you from just playing a third of a season like I did last year, said Hines. But I'm just focused on my football and I don't let things like that affect me.[LNB] I've had a lot of time to think about the injury, but I'm over it now. It was one of the worst injuries I've ever had, probably the worst.[LNB] Everyone says it must have been painful, and it was. But I was knocked a bit unconscious and it took a while to realise things didn't feel right. The doctor told me I had broken my jaw, and at first I didn't believe him.[LNB] Mowbray has chopped and changed his selections throughout pre-season, and tonight's starting line-up is likely to include a number of players who did not start Saturday's game with Darlington.[LNB] Bennett and Justin Hoyte are likely to feature in the back four, with Richie Smallwood and summer signing Malaury Martin expected to be involved in the midfield.[LNB] Luke Williams will also feature, with Australia international Scott McDonald set to start up front.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo