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Mowbray reveals pre-match disruption after win
MIDDLESBROUGH sealed a place in the last-16 of the Capital One Cup last night and then manager Tony Mowbray revealed how two of his players had to make their own way to Deepdale because of the floods.
Argentinian Emmanuel Ledesma, who is still coming to terms with the English language, was caught out by the atrocious road conditions around Teesside yesterday and was unable to meet up with the rest of the squad on time to catch the team coach.
Most of the squad were delayed by the downpours, but Mowbray had to admit defeat in waiting for his summer recruit from Walsall to turn up.
Ledesma's compatriot Julio Arca waited around at the club's Rockliffe Park training base yesterday for his team-mate and they both drove through together before starting and contributing to last night's 3-1 win at Preston North End.
“We couldn't afford to wait any longer for him, so we just had to go and get him to stick Deepdale in to his sat-nav and get here with Julio,” said Mowbray.
“We thought it was a bit unfair to ask him to drive down on his own, so Julio offered to wait around and help.
“Actually once we got going the road conditions weren't too bad, it was just getting the players coming in from the north really and across to meet us all at the training ground.
“We were all struggling to get in from the A66. It took me an hour and 25 minutes to get to Rockliffe when it would normally take 20 minutes.
“Julio and Ledesma had to come in their own car. That said, though, the pitch held up to the awful weather and ultimately it is the result that matters and we are in the next round.”
When Mowbray and his squad arrived at Deepdale he decided to make 11 changes to the Middlesbrough starting line-up, including handing Swiss goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler his debut.
Mowbray, who also rested a few others like Kevin Thomson and Marvin Emnes , wanted to seal a place in tonight's fourth round draw while also considering what team he will pick for Saturday's Championship visit of Leicester.
He said: “With half an eye on the weekend, half of the team that played on Friday would not have been fit to play here, we have picked up a lot of niggles.
“Yet I don't want to give too much away for the weekend. There were only four players rested tonight, that was because they came back from three games in six days.
“Do you play heavy legged players or do you give fresh players a chance to show what they are capable of? They were all busting for a chance.
“The players who played wanted to play. Ultimately we were disciplined enough to get the job done. I am pleased with them all and we move on to the weekend now.”
Middlesbrough took a two goal lead courtesy of first half goals from Emmanuel Ledesma and Merouane Zemmama before Jack King pulled one back for Preston.
But then after the restart Richie Smallwood was on hand to force a third over the line to secure a place in the fourth round.
“We are through to the next round which is the important thing,” said Mowbray. “After such a long day, it has finished well.
“”We have now had ten ten away games on the bounce in this competition, so let's hope we can get a Premier League giant at home in the next round and fill the Riverside.”
Earlier yesterday Middlesbrough confirmed that academy graduate Adam Reach had penned a four-year deal.
Mowbray said: “We are delighted. It's not as if he has burst on to the scene, he has been around a while and during pre-season he has really pushed on.
“His bravery, his technique has really reached new highs. We are excited about the prospect of him breaking in to the first team next because his time will come.”