Middlesbrough make new signing ahead of Birmingham game

Tony Mowbray
Tony Mowbray

TONY Mowbray will add a new face to his unbeaten squad when Middlesborugh entertain Birmingham City on Sunday (kick off 3pm).

Belgian international Faris Haroun penned a three-year deal yesterday after being granted international clearance to sign from Antwerp-based club Germinal Beerschot.

He should go straight into the squad for the visit of City as Boro look for their first home win of the campaign.

No fee was involved in bringing the 25-year-old to Teesside and Mowbray feels he has landed something of a coup.

He said: “It’s good to get the deal completed.

“Faris has looked good in training.

“He’ll bring qualities that we do have but we need a couple more like him.

“We need technicality and physicality and he will bring a bit of both.”

An unbeaten start to the campaign means that Haroun will almost certainly have to settle for a place on the bench for Sunday’s clash after Boro’s impressive 3-1 away victory against Barnsley – lifting Mowbray’s side up to fourth place in the Championship table.

Marvin Emnes was once again on the scoresheet, taking his total to six goals in four games, but it was midfielder Barry Robson who drew all of the plaudits.

Robson was instrumental throughout the game at Oakwell and capped it off with a 13th minute goal from the penalty spot.

The Scottish midfielder operated on the right-hand side of a four man engine-room and is set to start out wide once again.

Justin Hoyte will be assessed ahead of the game after the defender limped off with a thigh strain – an injury which he was tested on before the win.

He is, however, expected to be rested regardless of fitness with Tony McMahon returning from his one-game suspension after picking up a red-card in the 1-0 win against Leeds last weekend.

Kevin Thomson (leg), Jason Steel (hand) and Merouane Zemmama (hip) are all still long-term casualties.

Boro welcome former Newcastle United boss and new City chief Chris Hughton to the Riverside.

The Blues have taken three points from a possible six after picking up their first win against Coventry last weekend.

However, Birmingham haven’t recorded a win on Teesside since 1980 and with Cameron Jerome, Nikola Zigic and former Boro loanee Marlon King all missing through injury, summer signing Adam Rooney is set to lead the attack.

Birmingham suffered a major setback this summer losing some key individuals such as Sebastian Larsson, Craig Gardner, Ben Foster, Barry Ferguson and Roger Johnson but they still have experience in abundance.

Liam Ridgewell and Steven Caldwell will attempt to thwart any Boro advances whilst Chris Burke will add some flair on the wing.

Boro (probable): Ikeme, McMahon, Bates, McManus, Bennett, Arca, Bailey, R. Williams, Robson, McDonald; Emnes.

Subs (from): Coyne, Hoyte, Hines, Haroun, Kink, Martin, Smallwood; Halliday.