Mowbray should pick Boro youth

Monday 15th April 2013 17:47

Tony Mowbray: Might as well give youngsters a go

Tony Mowbray: Might as well give youngsters a go

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FanZone's Middlesbrough blogger Craig Smithson feels Tony Mowbray should give the club's youngsters a go for the remainder of the campaign.

Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Brighton left Tony Mowbray admitting what the fans knew about a month ago - this season is over and he can't wait to see the back of it.

After another promising first half to the campaign nose-dived for a second successive season, the hopes of automatic promotion and then the play-offs have vanished off the radar this year thanks to the worst run of form in the entire Football League.

In fact Boro would already be scrapping against relegation had the season started on January 1 2013, with just eight points from 51 available, including seven defeats in the last eight matches and just two goals scored in their last six.

The damning statistics continue to mount up as every club we face seems to end an unwanted record against us - Brighton picking up a first win on Teesside since 1985 being the latest.

Fans of other clubs have continually asked me what has gone wrong at Boro? It's the million dollar question which the fans like to speculate about, but it seems nobody really knows the answer.

My guess is that Mowbray made the mistake of telling several players - Nicky Bailey being one - that they are not part of his plans beyond this season and will be shown the door when their contract expires or if an offer comes in.

I suspect Marvin Emnes is another judging by the way he has vanished from the team-sheet in recent weeks following some, shall we say, lacklustre performances during Boro's downturn in form.

So what it represents for me is a chance now for Mowbray, who has steadfastly refused to walk away, to start looking to next season. If there are players not in his plans, then why continue playing them?

The manager hinted a week ago that he would start giving some of his younger squad members a chance to get some game time under their belts, but then failed to follow it up when the Seagulls flew into The Riverside on Saturday.

But now really is a good time for Mowbray to give youth an opportunity to shine.

Okay there are some lingering relegation fears now, but the way I see it, the current crop of players are unlikely to accrue many points from the remaining four games so it does not represent a huge risk pitching in the youngsters.

Christian Burgess could do with sampling Championship football in the centre of defence, while I would utilise midfield starlets such as Cameron Park, Bryn Morris and Adam Reach, while forwards Luke Williams and Curtis Main deserve a few more outings between now and the summer.

The noises coming from The Riverside suggest there will be very little in the way of funds being made available to Mowbray this summer, especially with attendances continuing to dwindle in the current slump.

The number of season cards being renewed or taken up for next season is almost certain to take a big hit following another season of huge disappointment and that will also have a bearing on what money is made available to the manager.

Therefore, a reliance on the squad's youngsters could be the path Boro will venture down next season and, for that reason alone, Mowbray could do with preparing as many as possible for next August.

You can find Craig on Twitter @CraigSmithson.

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