Middlesbrough v Reading: Boro hope Harrison can prove as influential as Mooy

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis says new signing Jack Harrison has looked as 'bright as a button' in training but lacks fitness (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis says new signing Jack Harrison has looked as 'bright as a button' in training but lacks fitness (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
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WITH Middlesbrough’s season in danger of petering out in the coming weeks unless they make a decisive move, boosts of any description are likely to be timely.

Boro definitely have one in terms of their attacking options and potential ability to prise open Championship defences today, given the fact that loan attacking midfielder Jack Harrison is in the running for a starting spot.

With the ink barely dry on the deal he signed with Manchester City after arriving from partner club New York City, Harrison was loaned out to Boro to bolster his experience in England.

If Harrison makes a similar impact to the one made by another player who moved to the Championship from one of City’s network clubs – Aaron Mooy, who joined Huddersfield Town from Melbourne City – then Boro might just find the catalyst they are seeking.

Manager Tony Pulis is also boosted by the fact that Harrison’s fellow January arrivals in Mo Besic and Martin Cranie, all unused substitutes at Norwich City last weekend, are now in contention for the Royals’ test.

Pulis, whose Boro side have yet to score a home league goal under his watch, said: “We needed to have a look at them and we will see for the weekend.

“It gives us some different options. Jack looks as bright as a button, he is just a little bit short of fitness.

“Besic is a good player and we need to get him in the team as quickly as we can, but we have to be patient to make sure he is 100 per cent fit before he plays.

“We do not want to be losing him.”

Boro have lost four of their past five matches in all competitions at the Riverside and have failed to find the net in four of them.

Their last home league goal arrived on Boxing Day in a 2-0 win over Bolton and despite some promising displays, which merited more, Boro have yet to find a cutting edge at home under Pulis.

Alluding to the issue in hand, Pulis acknowledged: “We have got to be more clinical, we have got to take our chances.”