TONY Mowbray has backed misfiring frontman Scott McDonald to end up as Middlesbrough’s top goalscorer this season.
The Australian international endured a frustrating night during Wednesday’s stalemate with Leicester City, this on the back of the weekend goalless draw with Ipswich Town.
McDonald was substituted during the second half against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Foxes and has netted just once from nine outings this term.
That sole return leaves the former Celtic man trailing strike partner Marvin Emnes by some goals.
But Mowbray has come out in support of McDonald ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Reading.
“I think Scott McDonald will end up as top scorer this season,” he said.
“When he scores one he’ll score five or six games on the bounce.”
McDonald’s only goal came during last month’s 3-1 win at Barnsley, the second of what has been four straight triumphs on the road this season.
And Mowbray, whose side moved into second in the Championship following the point against Leicester, is targeting the win which could take his men to the summit of the second tier at the Madejski Stadium.
“It’s another long trip,” he said, after back-to-back trips to Crystal Palace in the league and Carling Cup last week.
“We will be looking to right a few wrongs from last season when we lost heavily there.
“Reading will no doubt see it as a great opportunity to pick up some home points, but we have been impressive on our travels so far this season and we will be looking to extend our great run away from home.
“After that we have the international break and a chance to catch our breath before we go against Millwall.”
Boro trio Rhys Williams, Joe Bennett and Emnes all passed fitness tests ahead of the midweek draw and Mowbray, who will include the three for tomorrow’s game, has praised their attitude in overcoming their respective problems.
He added: “Rhys Williams had been vomiting in the morning, he’d got flu-like symptoms and the doctor advised him not to play but we had a conversation and he put his boots on and went out there and did it.
“Joe’d been struggling with a dead leg and Marvin a problem with his ankle but all three came through for me.
“It shows that if you’re out of the team it can be hard to get back in.”