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Juke will be a bonus, but Mowbray won’t rush him
MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Mowbray admits the return to fitness of Lukas Jutkiewicz will be a huge boost after the international break, but reveals he will be careful not to rush the striker back too soon.
Jutkiewicz returned to action after undergoing knee surgery during pre-season on Tuesday, when he scored in a friendly win over Hull City for Boro’s development team.
The Polish striker, who completed 45 minutes in the game at Rockliffe Park, is yet to figure for the first-team this season after suffering the injury during the early stages of pre-season, but he could be in line for a return when Boro travel to Ipswich on September 15.
However, given the type of injury Jutkiewicz suffered, Mowbray is keen not to throw the 23-year-old in to his starting line-up too quickly and reveals he would prefer to ease the striker in gradually even if the player himself is raring to go.
“He scored, which will be great for his confidence,” Mowbray said.
“I think they’re always in a hurry to get back. He’s such a good individual and good personality that he’s desperate to help and get back in and be part of the squad.
“He was disappointed not to make the bench at the weekend at Millwall. I think he knows now that he needed 45 minutes in a game. You can train all you want, but for a game you have to be reactive as opposed to controlling in training and I think he realised he needed the game.
“I’m delighted he got that under his belt and scored a goal. He’s working very hard in training and he’ll have a full week’s build up next week with the squad and there’s every chance he will be in the squad next week.
“You need game time as well as training. He did the initial part of pre-season and then missed a pretty crucial bit of it when we started playing games.
“In my mind he needs to do that work to get his body ready for a season of 40-odd games. His mind will be telling him he wants to play, but ultimately he’ll have to play a bit part initially and let’s hope he comes in and scores and stays in the team. The fact he hits the ground running will be a big thing for him and hopefully he’ll do that.”
Jutkiewicz’s return will offer Mowbray something different going forward and will allow the Boro boss to experiment with the way his side plays.
Away from home particularly, Boro have lacked an aerial threat and a target man and with Marvin Emnes and Ishamel Miller both carrying knocks, his return will give both a chance to recover properly.
Mowbray said: “He adds something else to our forward line. It’s all about balance of strikers. Marvin and Ledesma bring a certain type of striker, who can drop into holes and travel with the ball.
“Ishmael is going to be someone who sits on shoulders or has it played into his body, but Lukas gives the team a platform to play off and hopefully we’ll score some headed goals, which we don’t do enough and is a physical threat.
“Any central defender knows he’s been in a game when he’s played against Lukas. He brings a different dimension to what we’ve had at our disposal in the first few weeks of the season.”
Miller suffered an ankle injury in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Millwall, but Mowbray expects the man on loan from Nottingham Forest to be fit when the Championship resumes next weekend.
He said: “He rolled his ankle a little bit. I don’t think we’re overly concerned. It’s come at a good time.
“ If there was a game this weekend it might have been tough and go and yet the extra week will help.”
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