MALAURY Martin has made a convincing case for a start against Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow following last weekend’s stunning match winner, according to Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray.
The Frenchman is yet to start a game since joining Boro in the summer.
But Martin came on from the bench to smash the only goal of the game at Bristol City last Saturday night, an unstoppable free-kick fizzing beyond David James to spark wild celebrations among the travelling fans.
With Rhys Williams and Barry Robson struggling with injury ahead of the visit of Brighton, the 23-year-old could come into consideration for his full league debut.
“He’s one of those players who’s been around the fringes and sometimes makes the bench and some weeks doesn’t,” said Mowbray.
“I know he’s been very frustrated by that, but my job is to pick a team that can win a football match.
“Is he any closer? I think yes.
“His strike at Bristol we’ve seen before against Birmingham and also every week in training, but sometimes I look at the balance of the squad and can’t get him on the bench.
“It’s a difficult balancing act to get that right.
“Thankfully last week he did get on the bench and anyone who does that well in a cameo role pushes himself to the forefront of your mind for the next game.”
Mowbray says Martin’s winner has left Boro in positive mood during this week’s preparations for the clash with Gus Poyet’s men.
“We would have come away very disappointed with another draw and all of a sudden the press would be talking about no wins in four,” he went on.
“So we were delighted to get a win again.
“It’s good for the players and relieves a little bit of the tension.”
Meanwhile, fellow midfielders Robson (thigh) and Williams (ankle) are Mowbray’s main injury concerns.
“Barry trained on Thursday and if he’s got no reaction and trains today he’s in contention for the weekend,” he said.
“Rhys got an ankle injury at the weekend and has been getting treatment on it all week.”