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Mowbray defends selection policies
TONY MOWBRAY will not be afraid to fine tune his Middlesbrough team again if he thinks changes are the perfect way to boost the club's promotion aspirations.
Boro's first home defeat of the season arrived against Leicester City on Saturday, when Merouane Zemmama was asked to provide the link between midfield and attack in the absence of Marvin Emnes.
And with Nicky Bailey asked to play on the left of a four-man field without Mustapha Carayol - who underwent knee surgery yesterday - Mowbray's team had a different feel about it again.
But the Boro boss, who seems to have to deal with one injury problem after another at the moment, is not concerned about having to make changes. Instead, he says, he will continue to tinker, even if some of his alterations are not enforced.
"Managers make decisions and if you win everything is great, if you lose then it's probably the wrong team. That's football," said Mowbray. "If you start to panic after one defeat at home then we are all in trouble. I thought we worked really hard against a tough side in Leicester. My job is to pick the right team, week in and week out."
With Jonathan Woodgate expected to be missing tomorrow night with a recurrence of a hamstring injury, Mowbray knows he will have to make at least one change for the visit of Derby County.
Seb Hines is the most likely candidate to slot in, but there is equally as much chance of other changes being made in light of Boro's 2-1 defeat to the Foxes.
Mowbray is keen to find greater attacking intent against Derby, having suggested Middlesbrough looked 'light' in attack with lone striker Lukas Jutkiewicz often too isolated at the weekend.
But the Middlesbrough manager is optimistic that losing to Leicester should be just regarded as a one-off defeat rather than the start of further frustration at home.
"We have won some tight matches at home this season, it's not as if we have been badgering teams four and five at home," said Mowbray. "That time (against Leicester) we lost a tight game. We were very much in it and it was frustrating.
"Over the last few weeks Blackpool, Blackburn, every team, are winning and losing, it's that sort of league, there will be tight games and the fine margins will make a difference."
Carayol's speed and direct running is something Middlesbrough lacked against Leicester, but it is also something they are going to have to be without for a number of weeks.
The £300,000 signing from Bristol Rovers is unlikely to play again before the new year, despite undergoing a successful operation yesterday on his troubled knee.
Carayol Tweeted last night: "I'm back alive! Op went well thanks to everyone's best wishes ... soon be back on that pitch."
Mowbray is keen for the 22-year-old to stay positive during his recovery from the worst injury of his career so far - which arrived less than two months after stepping up to the Championship.
"He is upset with it. He will come to terms with it, I'm sure," said Mowbray. "Hopefully he will be back in three or four months, with his boots on and threatening to do what he has been doing at the start of the season.
"He had made two league jumps and I was enjoying working with him, telling him he was worthy of that jump. He must take this knock back and bounce back."