Adam Hammill bolsters goal-shy Middlesbrough

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MIDDLESBROUGH have been boosted by the loan signing of Adam Hammill ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Portsmouth.

The Wolves midfielder has found first-team opportunity limited at Molineux and has been allowed to leave the Premier League strugglers for the remainder of the season.

Hammill, still just 24, could make his debut at Fratton Park as Boro look to recover from last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Reading.

Tony Mowbray said: “Adam is capable of bringing a different ingredient to the squad and giving us something we’ve missed for a bit.

“He also has a bit of individuality, he’s versatile enough to play in any midfield position and he creates extra competition within the squad.”

Hammill started his career with hometown club Liverpool, but didn’t make a senior breakthrough.

He enjoyed loan spells with Dunfermline, Southampton, Blackpool and Barnsley before joining the Tykes permanently in 2009/10, scoring 13 goals in 78 league appearances for the South Yorkshire club.

After hitting eight goals in the first half of the 2010/11 campaign he moved to Wolves for an undisclosed fee, signing a three-and-a-half year contract.

But after just three league starts this term he has decided to join Boro’s promotion push.

However, skipper Matthew Bates fears the Teessiders will come unstuck in that pursuit unless they sharpen their attacking instincts.

“It (lack of goals) has been the story of our season really,” he said.

“We almost need to keep a clean sheet to stand a chance of winning games.

“You can’t afford to do that.

“But look at the players we have, Rhys Williams and Julio Arca are two of the best ball-playing midfielders in the league.

“Marvin Emnes’ scoring record speaks for itself.

“So it’s a shame that with the players like that we can’t create more opportunities.

“Our possession is great until the final third but then it breaks down – we need to be better.”

Nicky Bailey has been back in training for three weeks now since his ankle lay-off and tomorrow should mark his return to the squad.

Kevin Thomson, meanwhile, returns from suspension.