TONY Mowbray admits that he’ll have to work within the club’s financial framework despite worries over a mounting injury list.
Middlesbrough take on Derby County at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow and could be without up to six first-team players.
Rhys Williams (pelvic condition), Matthew Bates (foot), Merouane Zemmama (groin) and Carl Ikeme (hand) were all unavailable for Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest – Boro’s first reverse of the season – while Kevin Thomson (hamstring) and Joe Bennett (shoulder) were injured during the match.
Mowbray has added Nigerian free agent Bartholomew Ogbeche to his ranks this week, but concedes that could be it for the foreseeable future.
“It’s difficult to add when you’ve got the current financial situation, really,” Mowbray said.
“As we’ve seen this week we’ve added a striker who hasn’t cost us anything. We have to work within the means that we’ve got and yet we keep going.
“We don’t complain about it – it is what it is. I’m fully aware of it and get on with it.
“We lost 14 players in the summer, so it’s always going to be a concern.
“When everybody is fit we’ve shown we can be competitive. But three key defensive players were unavailable at Forest on Tuesday and it showed.”
Mowbray’s injury woes could force an early-than-anticipated debut call for Ogbeche.
The manager said: “Depending who’s fit and who’s not fit, it might be a numbers game that he is involved.
“I don’t want to rush him, he’s hasn’t played much football this year but he has scored three goals in two reserve games.
“He also took a bump on the head the other day but he did train yesterday.”
Meanwhile, the frustration continues for midfielder Thomson, who awaits a scan to assess the extent of the hamstring injury he picked up in the latter stages at the City Ground.
“These injuries can be anywhere between two and six weeks,” said Mowbray. “It’s disappointing for him and for us, because he is a highly talented player.
“We need to try to get him up to speed so that he feels confident playing games back to back.”