Mowbray Looks Forward to Big Game v Reading
By fmttm
Friday 24 Feb 2012 17:16:00
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Boro boss Tony Mowbray is relishing the prospect of going head to head with the division’s form team, Reading. Both clubs will be bang up for Saturday’s game at the Riverside. Reading are gong great guns with Jason Roberts goal power bolstering their charge towards the top. Boro have won 2 out of 2. Something has to give. I would heartily recommend you go down to the Riverside tomorrow to see the outcome. Sparks could fly.


Tony Mowbray was on good form and really looking forward to the clash with Reading when he fielded questions at yesterday’s press conference at Hurworth. Here is a flavour of some of the answers to questions pitched to him from the media.


Q: Tony you must be delighted with back to back victories.

TM: Yes, hopefully it is the start of some momentum. Hopefully with the team we've always known it is capable of winning, as we did through December when we won 4 or 5 matches on the bounce. I think we've come out of a spell where for whatever reason we were drawing too many matches. We've had a few spells like that this season. We were at Leicester, a minute away from a victory and a bad back pass gave them an equaliser. I think the Sunderland games should be looked on as a positive rather than a negative. Games we didn't actually win give a really good account of ourselves in. Palace was a home draw and yet here we are on back of those sort of games coming out with 2 victories which is crucially important of course. Because on the back of a draw a win is important.


If we can follow it up this weekend with another win then we can start look positively to the run in. We are very much in the mix as it is when you look at the table how tight it is. I've always said that I'd like to think that for a lot of the season you are just accumulating points so that when you get to this point. We're not quite there. But for the last dozen games or the last ten games you've given yourself a real chance to be able to push to get out of this league. And I think that is what we've managed to do these last two results. We've just cemented at the moment whether it is a sixth, eighth or whatever it is, when you look at the table, one win away from catapulting yourself to third or fourth. We just have to keep going really and try to be consistent.


Q: I suppose any team can say this but just looking at the league table with the eight home draws if four of them had been victories you are top of the table. Those are the fine margins.

TM: Yes. I think that has been a frustration all season really. Some of those draws at home we kick ourselves after the games. Some of them were pretty good football matches, I think Leicester and Ipswich 0-0s but really, good tight games. And nobody could begrudge a draw on the night. But other games, you think back to the opening day of the season and Portsmouth and Coventry, games like that if we had been a little bit more clinical we would have had 3 points and then as you say we would have been right in the mix with the top two as opposed to at this moment making sure we can try and maintain sure in and around the top six.


Q: Does it help you think that this weekend you are playing one of the form teams and one of the teams that really fancy their chances of creeping into the top two, in Reading?

TM: I think it is important to be having a “big game” because of the intensity of the matches that we've played Tues, Sat, Tues, I think it is important to when the fatigue issue starts to creep in a little bit it is important that the adrenaline takes over and the intensity of the match is there in front of you. I think that is why we are all pleased it is such a big game at the weekend. There won't be a feel of, with total respect to them, the Palace game at home in the last fortnight. It was a difficult game to get the intensity required to get the 3 points because of the games programme being so intense but I feel as if Reading at home is a game because of their situation in the league, and the tightness of the league, it is a game where we will rise to that occasion and find the intensity I'm sure to hopefully find the right performance.


Q: Part of you must have been hoping that Brian McDermott would take the Wolves job because then they would have been arriving on Teesside in a certain amount of disarray.

TM: (laughs) Listen I think Brian has done a great job and it is a great credit to him that he was muted for that job in the Premier League.  A Premier League job is never easy for anyone to get. Generally the only way Championship managers get to manage in the Premier League is to take your own team up there because there are a lot of foreign managers managing in the Premier League. I think probably because it is too much of a gamble to gamble on a untried manager really. It is a big decision for any club because of what's at stake to gamble with your manager.


And yet Wolves, if the reports are true, looked as if they could see enough in Brian to think they could put their club in his hands and he could hopefully keep them in that division. Its a great credit to him that he has achieved the state in the game where they believe that. But he's here, here's coming and he is a good football man. We were in the same location in pre-season. I had a drink with a him when we were both preparing our teams. He's got them flying at the moment, they are the form team in the league. But its nothing that we fear we are looking forward to the challenge.


Q: Do you think we might look back come May back to Tuesday night and the return to goals from Marvin Emnes because particularly with Scott's injury his goals could be very, very important.

TM: Well I think Marvin, Lukas, Curtis Main and Bart Ogbeche they have a responsibility as strikers to try and fire the goals to try and win football matches for us. Its great for Marvin who is very much, I was going to see confidence player but all footballers are, but emotionally attached to him really, he needs to be feeling good and confident about himself and I think he is very much in that mode at the moment and enjoying being out on the pitch. I think at times Lukas can take the physicality out of what's expected of Marvin and he can just go and enjoy and play. Lukas will take the batterings and put his body on the line, as he does, which releases Marvin from the pressure of having to take some of that physical side of the game and he can float around and he scored a wonderful second goal. I think a bit fortuitous with his first the other night but he won't be bothered as long as his goals tally keeps ticking along.


Q: It is a massive week after the Reading game you have got the visit of England U21s and Joe Bennett and Jason Steele were both named in the squad. So just another testament to this club bringing players forward isn't it?

TM: I hope so. It has been happening for a lot of years now. We've had a lot of young players going through young England sides and we have a few in the current England squad that have been Boro players and moved on of course, the likes of Downings and Johnsons and people like that, have had international recognition recently.


But good for Joe. Joe got left out of the team a couple of weeks ago and he has come back all guns firing really. I thought he was excellent against Sunderland and in recent weeks he's got on with his job and looked really assured.


Young Steele has come through an injury spell really where he has had a few problems, he damaged a wrist. He has come back super fit. He amazed me the point he was injured and I generally get in early in the morning and Steele was already in the gym, the first player here, working away and he's got himself into a fantastic physical shape and I think that is showing with his performances again. He was sharp as a razor the other night at Millwall, diving at peoples’ feet when called upon making great reflex saves.  I'm delighted for both of the boys.

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