Middlesbrough eye up Ameobi

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MIDDLESBROUGH are leading the race to sign Newcastle United forward Sammy Ameobi on loan.

A clutch of teams are interested in the 20-year-old, who will be farmed out for first-team football by manager Alan Pardew.

Pardew is willing to loan Ameobi out for the rest of the season.

And Middlesbrough, pushing for a Championship play-off place, have held discussions with Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Boro boss Tony Mowbray blamed his backline after a 2-1 home defeat to Millwall sent his side slipping out of the npower Championship play-off places.

Boro were sloppy at the back as George Friend headed the opener through his own net before Martyn Woolford took advantage of slack marking to crack in the second before the break.

Boro staged a spirited fightback after the break and Curtis Main grabbed a lifeline – before having a second goal ruled out for a hotly-disputed offside call in stoppage time.

“They were poor, poor goals for us to concede from a defensive point of view,” Mowbray said. “We made it very difficult for ourselves.

“We gave Millwall something to hold onto and then we had to try and break them down and we couldn’t do that. We had chances to get back into it, but we didn’t take them.

“We didn’t get the luck, but we can’t keep saying that. It is down to us to win football matches.

“Of course we are very disappointed and of course it has an effect on confidence. And of course it is very frustrating for the supporters here who have seen these results over the past few weeks.

“But do we still believe we can make the play-offs? Of course we do.

“We know we have what it takes and that we just need to stay strong as a group and keep doing the things we did that won us 11 home games and got us in the top six in the first place.”

Millwall boss Kenny Jackett was delighted with the win that stopped the Lions’ slump of five successive league defeats.

“It was a fantastic result and a great performance,” he said. “Middlesbrough is a very difficult place to come and get a result so we have got to be delighted with it.”

Middlesbrough: Steele, Bailey, McManus, Bikey, Friend, Dyer (Miller 46), Rhys Williams (Carayol 46), Leadbitter, McEachran, Emnes (McDonald 69), Main. Subs Not Used: Ripley, Ledesma, Hines, Smallwood.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Shittu, Osborne, Beevers, Henry, Abdou, Wright, Woolford, Marquis, Afobe. Subs Not Used: Maik Taylor, Trotter, Tyson, Keogh, N’Guessan, Adam Smith, Malone. Booked: Osborne,Wright,Forde.

Att: 15,377 Ref: Michael Naylor (Sheffield).