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McDonald selection looks a non-starter
SCOTT McDONALD’S Middlesbrough exile looks set to continue as Tony Mowbray believes he has seen no reason to select him ahead of his other strikers.
The Australian centreforward has not appeared for Boro this season and was left out of Saturday’s matchday squad at Millwall.
McDonald, a £3.5m signing by Gordon Strachan from Celtic two-and-a-half years ago, scored nine goals last season but has largely failed to replicate his form which fired the SPL side into European competition during his time in Scotland.
And Mowbray has admitted that he does not see why McDonald should be picked ahead of his other strikers, who include Curtis Main , Luke Williams, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Marvin Emnes and the on-loan Ishmael Miller, who was injured during Boro’s 3-1 defeat at The New Den.
Asked whether McDonald will feature for the Teessiders soon, Mowbray said: “I don’t know. The issue has come up time and time again about Scott, but he has to keep doing what he does in training, working hard and trying to get into the squad.
“I’d have to say, with total respect to Scott, he’s been here two years and he hasn’t scored a bagful of goals, “You have to ask the question because he cost a lot of money and he earns a lot of money, but if we had a 30-goal a season centre-forward sitting in the stands not playing I could understand the question, but with total respect, he’s just another name on my teamsheet or not on my teamsheet.”
McDonald is on a list of players who Mowbray is keen to move out of the Riverside, as he was signed during a time when Boro were able to hand out large contracts – no longer the modus operandi at Middlesbrough.
The blueprint for Mowbray over the summer has been bringing in signings from the lower leagues who he can then develop into better players, rather than bringing in proven talent at a large layout.
One of those players is Mustapha Carayol, who Mowbray is hoping will return in time for the end of the international break after overextending his knee in midweek.
Mowbray said: “Fingers crossed, he’ll be okay. He brings a different dimension to the team which is why he’s here. He’s only a young boy, he’s come from League One – we shouldn’t be hanging our hat on Mustapha Carayol but I do think he brings something different to the team, something that we missed on Saturday.”
Mowbray successfully retained the services of Marvin Emnes last week despite interest from Swansea, and the Dutch striker repaid that faith with a goal from the penalty spot at Millwall, but missed a late chance when Boro were 3-1 down.
And Mowbray said: “Marvin’s a talented footballer. He fits in with the way we want to play, he’s hungry for goals and I’m pleased to see him stick the penalty away comfortably.
It would have been nicer if we were talking about him scoring two goals with his chance at the death, but he’s a top player and we’re delighted he’s still here.”