IT may have taken Lukas Jutkiewicz nearly six hours to break his Middlesbrough scoring duck, but now he’s up and running Tony Mowbray is expecting a goal rush.
The 22-year-old opened his account with a fine blast during last week’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat against Sunderland.
And Jutkiewicz followed up that strike with an impressive 20-yard effort in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest, Boro’s first maximum return in the Championship since Boxing Day.
Boss Mowbray has been heartened by his January signing’s goal return in recent matches, and now believes the former Everton youngster will go from strength to strength.
“That’s his second goal now and it’s the sort he scores a lot in training,” he said.
“Lukas brings physicality to our team. You can see he’s good at taking the ball on his chest and helping the midfield come and join.
“He’s also got a great honesty about him and he’s 22 years old, so I don’t put too big a demand on him.
“He’s a boy learning his trade and he’s scored a couple of goals for us and he’ll only get better and stronger.”
The goal was Jutkiewicz’s 10th in the league this season, putting him ahead of Marvin Emnes (eight plus four cup goals) and the injured Scott McDonald (eight plus one cup goal).
Emnes netted the other in the victory over Forest, albeit with the aid of a deflection.
But Mowbray is backing the Dutchman to claim the effort.
“We weren’t sure who’s scored it, he must have tried to cross it and it’s nicked off someone and in to the net,” said Mowbray.
“If he’s got any chance of claiming it, I’m more than happy to give it to Marvin.”
Boro have a free weekend because of the FA Cup before returning to action at Millwall on Tuesday.