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Things Luk-ing up for Boro striker
LUKAS JUTKIEWICZ is in line for a return to Championship action with Middlesbrough after coming through a comeback match at Rockliffe Park yesterday.
The former Coventry City striker grabbed the only goal of the game in his 45-minute run-out against Hull City for the Boro development squad in a friendly fixture.
Jutkiewicz latched on to a neat through pass from Luke Williams, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted in from a difficult angle to put Middlesbrough ahead.
It was the perfect comeback for the £1.5m man, who was replaced at half-time after emerging from his first piece of match action since undergoing a knee operation in the summer.
The 23-year-old was forced to have routine knee surgery to clean cartilage in his knee in early July which proved enough to rule him out of Middlesbrough's pre-season programme.
But the target-man is on his way back and will work on his fitness in the next days in the hope he can force his way in to manager Tony Mowbray's plans for the visit of Ipswich Town on Saturday, September 15 or the trip to Blackpool a few days later.
Jutkiewicz's finish was the only goal of the game at Middlesbrough's training ground yesterday when Jamie Clapham's team could - and probably should - have won by more.
In the closing seconds there had to be an exceptional flying save to deny Matty Dolan's thunderbolt from distance. By that time Jutkiewcz had already been in the shower satisfied with his comeback.
Mowbray still has thoughts about adding to his attacking options when the window for loan deals opens on Friday for Football League clubs.
But to have Jutkiewicz available again will be nice for the Boro boss, who is keen to have plenty of forwards to call on after feeling like the team relied too heavily on Marvin Emnes ' 18 goals last season.
Despite a reluctance to bring Scott McDonald back in to the picture, Mowbray still has Emnes, Curtis Main and Ishmael Miller, on loan from Nottingham Forest, to use before Jutkiewicz makes a full recovery.
But Mowbray has not ruled out further additions and he could still add another front-man to his squad in the coming weeks.
He will not be rushing in to anything, however. In the wake of having skipper Rhys Williams ruled out for at least two months with ankle trouble, he knows another centre-back could be more important.
That is why he continues to run the rule over former Bristol City defender Andre Amougou. He watched yesterday's friendly with Hull and there could still be a deal for him to consider at the Riverside Stadium.
The £4.25m departure of Joe Bennett has helped the club financially again following a summer when Mowbray made a number of changes, even if those were carried out at a much cheaper rate than Middlesbrough have been used to over the last ten years.
Middlesbrough : Leutwiler; Pilatos, Okosieme (Oliver 64), Burgess, Sirrell; Park (Dolan 64), Waters, Rivers (Brobbel 51), Williams; Wyke (Edwards 85), Jutkiewicz (Kneeshaw 46).