MAINTAINING a Championship promotion push may be Middlesbrough’s priority this season, but Tony Mowbray is in no mood to cast aside the Carling Cup carelessly.
Boro travel to Peterborough on the back of a fine start in the league but Mowbray will not make wholesale changes to his squad for a game he will “try and win”.
It is consistent with the positive approach that Boro have applied to all their games so far, with Mowbray (pictured above) sure that confidence and momentum can play a big role in their push for the top of the Championship.
The Boro boss said: “The League Cup is not a distraction for us because it’s important we do well in it. Clubs of a certain standing in the game should be putting a strong side out to try and progress.
“I think we are bothered. Football is about confidence and the longer you stay unbeaten and the longer you can keep winning, the better chance you’ve got of being successful.
“We’re taking a full squad there with us, it won’t be an unrecognisable team on the field but we’ll go to try and win the match. For me we’ll always try and put as strong a team out as we can but of course that doesn’t mean we’ll beat teams. Going to Peterborough is going to be a tough ask for us, they’ve scored seven in their last game at home and I’ve seen them play live this year at Blackpool.
“It’s a tough game but we’ve got nothing to fear, we’ve started the season reasonably well and hopefully we can keep that going.”
One enforced absence for the London Road trip is Scott McDonald, who suffered slight hamstring damage in the Birmingham win.
There is a chance of the Australia striker returning for the weekend but he will not be risked at Peterborough – meaning Boro are likely to go ahead with one up front for the Carling Cup clash.
“It’s not ideal for us, it’s putting a heavy burden on Marvin with Scott being injured but we’ll come up with a way of playing that will hopefully benefit the team,” Mowbray said. “I like to play two striker but I only have one fit striker. As we showed at the weekend without Scott on the field we scored three goals and we’ll take confidence knowing that into the game.”
There may be an opportunity for former Darlington striker Curtis Main to play a part – although Mowbray is careful not to ramp up expectations surrounding a player who has not played much first team football.
“He came on pre season with us but coming from Darlington is was a big step,” he said.
“He doesn’t train with the first team on a daily basis, he trains with our development squad and yet I saw enough in pre-season to think he deserves to come along with the team.
“If we feel there’s a benefit of getting him on the pitch and playing two striker maybe he’ll have a part to play.” Meanwhile, striker Lee Miller has joined Carlisle United on a two-year deal – while Cameron Park has joined Barnsley on loan for three months.
The former Aberdeen striker had fallen down the pecking order but he has now signed a two-year deal with the Cumbrians.
Boss Greg Abbott said: “We’ve known about Lee for a while and he’s the kind of player that we feel will help us in the way that we want to play.
“He’s tall, strong and he has good physical presence, and he can also play a bit of football.
“Things had tailed off for him at Middlesbrough and from talking to him I can tell that he’s keen to get here and really kick on.”