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McManus exit balances the books at Riverside
TONY MOWBRAY has admitted that Stephen McManus’ loan away from Middlesbrough will not necessarily free up funds to further strengthen his squad.
When Boro signed Andre Bikey in September, Mowbray hinted that he was finished in the transfer market until players move out of the club, but the manager revealed last night that centre-half Mc- Manus’ exit, on loan to Bristol City, will help to balance the books at the Riverside.
“For me, it’s two-fold,” explained Mowbray, who allowed the 30-year-old to rejoin the Ashton Gate outfit – where he spent much of the second half of last season – on a three-month deal “There’s a financial issue for the club. Stephen’s a top professional who works hard, he’s a good voice with a great attitude, but the reality is that he hasn’t been playing enough in his mind to be happy.
“We’re still going through a process of trying to balance the books. If there was a real emergency, the chairman would look at it. But we’re not in an emergency at the moment.
“He played at Watford yet he’s off out on loan. I can fully understand it’s a bit unusual, but the boy wants to play week in, week out and I can’t guarantee it.
“The deal financially helps our club a fair bit, and it will help so it’s been allowed to happen. [Jonathan] Woodgate’s fit, Bikey’s fit, [Seb] Hines is fit and [George] Friend is fit so Stephen might not have even made the bench.”
McManus, who has a year left of his contract at Middlesbrough, was called back from his loan in the West Country last season after injury to Matthew Bates, and Mowbray feels that it is a good time for him to go back to Derek McInnes’ side and get some football under his belt.
“An opportunity has come along, he’s knocked on my door and asked if he could take it,” said Mowbray.
“My first thought is for the club, will it harm the club if he moves. We pay him well to do what he’s asked to do, whether that be to play, sit on the bench or sit in the stands, and he’s done that very professionally.
“When he knocked on my door, I thought this was a time for him to go and earn himself a contract for the years coming up. Looking at our team, we need Jonathan to stay fit, while Bikey has done well for us. Seb Hines and George Friend can play there – I thought we have got enough cover to give Steven an opportunity to win a longer deal at another football club.”
Woodgate is expected to start at Brighton and Hove Albion tomorrow, but one person not making the trip is striker Luke Williams, who suffered a hip injury in training this week.
However, Mowbray has been boosted by the return of Marvin Emnes, while Scott McDonald gives the Boro manager some options in attack.
Mowbray said: “We’re going to have injuries all year.
“Someone will get fit, someone will get injured. The difficulty is, of course, when you have three or four players all from the same area of the pitch injured at one time.
“You end up playing people out of position. Lukas Jutkiewicz has picked up a knock, but with Marvin and Scott both fit we’ve got options.
Emmanuel Ledesma has shown in flashes what he can create as well.
“We’re not moaning about it, we’re getting on with it.”