Strachan planning new recruits swoop
GORDON STRACHAN hopes to be given the go-ahead to add at least two new midfielders to his Middlesbrough squad, but he has reassured every existing player at the Riverside Stadium that they will be given a chance to shine. Gareth Southgates successor has had a hectic, yet productive first week which saw him draft in much-travelled striker Marcus Bent on loan from Birmingham and ended with a sour taste in his mouth. If Strachan was expecting a perfect start to life on Teesside, he was given a harsh wake-up call when second from bottom Plymouth Argyle inflicted home defeat number four on a Riverside crowd boosted by more than 4,000 from the clubs last home match with Derby. While Strachan might be renowned for his volatile nature, he will not be making any knee-jerk decisions on the players he already has at his disposal. Instead he has reassured them all that they have until January to prove they deserve to be part of his plans and he wants to improve the clubs chances of promotion to the Premier League by adding a couple more to his squad. It was good to see the players in a match-day environment, you dont decide whos good, whos bad and whos indifferent from one meeting, said Strachan. You cant make a decision on people at first, I dont think that would be fair. Over a period of time you build up relationships, see what youre truly like, and think that will be the same with the players. Ill have a far better idea of the players after a couple of months. Goals have been a problem for Middlesbrough, particularly at home, and that is why Strachan moved for Bent, who was introduced as a second half substitute. That, though, failed to prevent Strachan from losing his first match in charge. He is now hoping to attract a right midfielder and a central playmaker to his ranks in the coming weeks. Weve had a week to try to find a formula, and weve not come up with a formula, he said. In terms of making chances and crosses and all the rest, it was there, but the formula for scorings not there, and thats the hardest part of football. A lot of the guys could be pleased with their performance, and rightly so, but as a unit we didnt fully function. Theyll only get there with hard work and we can do that in training, but the reality is you can only do it on the pitch. We need to be able to finish our chances. We got into some nice positions but in front of goal is a bit of a problem. We all know whats wrong, you dont need to have a full Pro-Licence to see that. Were having to get strikers in on loan, that wouldnt have happened at this club three years ago, thats for sure. Strachan does face a problem defensively, with Emanuel Pogatetz braced for news that he could be facing two months out with a suspected fractured cheekbone. Pogatetz made his first appearance of the season against Plymouth, slotting in at left-back at the expense of Joe Bennett as Strachan opted for his experience. But he had to be stretchered off after a head collision with David Gray. We dont know the extent yet, hes gone to hospital, said Strachan, who could have to fend off interest in Gary ONeil from Everton in January. It doesnt look great for the big fella, because I thought he did alright. Hes not played since April, and hes so enthusiastic. We have mental scares at the moment, he has physical ones. He can deal with that, we have to deal with ours.
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