Middlesbrough: Advance of the trip to Blackburn, on new signing

MICHAEL Carrick says the international break came at a good time for the three players who Middlesbrough signed late in the summer transfer window – with the trio all expected to be involved at Blackburn on Saturday.

Alex Bangura is available to feature for the first time for Boro but is likely to have to settle for a spot as a substitute, but Sam Greenwood and Lewis O’Brien are both pushing for a start after making their debut from the bench in the defeat to QPR.

All three players have now benefited from a couple of weeks on the training pitches at Rockliffe, getting used to their new surroundings and familiarising themselves with their new teammates and Carrick’s playing style and demands.

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“They’ve settled well,” said Carrick.

“Probably in terms of not having a game and being able to settle without that has helped them.

“Being around the group, it takes them a few days to get used to the surroundings as much as the football. It’s a little bit of everything. For some of the boys it’s a change of country, for some it’s a change of area.

“For some it’s not always on the pitch. The boys are human beings and have families they need to look after. I think we get so desperate for them to perform and almost robotic that they should be at their best all the time.

“It doesn’t always work like that but at the same point it is what it is. There’s a process. They need to fit in and get to know the other players.

“I’m delighted to have them. We have a good squad, we’ll need good numbers throughout the season. It’s a long season and we have a busy period coming up so everyone will play their part at some point.”

All of the new Boro teammates have arrived eager to try their luck on Teesside.

O’Brien, who shined for Huddersfield Town in the 2021/22 season, was one of the stars in the Championship. However, after his move to Nottingham Forest fell through, he claims he has everything to prove.

Greenwood, a Leeds United loanee who has spent the last few seasons on the periphery at Elland Road, is eager to establish himself as a first team regular.

While waiting for Middlesbrough to offer him a contract, Bangura, who will compete with Lukas Engel for the left-back position, declared that his “dream has come true” by joining the club.

“We feel we have a good balance, good numbers, and good variety,” Carrick added.

“I’m interested in learning more about what they have to offer.

to the group and for the boys that have been here for some time to show what they’re capable of as well.”

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