TONY Mowbray admits that he is still trying to stamp his own mark on his Middlesbrough squad.
The Boro boss is entering his third full season on Teesside with the side in desperate need of attacking reinforcements.
And Mowbray believes the evolution of the team which he inherited in October, 2010 has yet to reach its conclusion.
“It’s been a long journey,” said the former Celtic manager.“I’ve talked long and hard about the team that we inherited and the fact that five or six of those players were actually players we had sold.
“We’re trying to shape it up.
“You have to watch finances very closely in the Championship and manage budgets.
“If a certain number of players are eating up a large percentage of your budget, it’s very hard to change things around.
“You can go into the market for free transfers, which is what we’ve had to do a bit.
“We’ve managed to get Dean Whitehead and Joszef Vargas in and it’s starting to take shape.
“I don’t think it’s the finished article, yet it’s something to work with.
“We’ve been working with it for a few weeks now and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Boro face French cup winners Bordeaux at the Riverside on Saturday bidding to protect an unbeaten pre-season record.
Their latest triumph came at Rotherham United on Tuesday night, although Mowbray refuses to read too much into results.
“You sometimes think you’re on track, but you never know,” he went on.
“It’s the old cliché of winning every pre-season game, but then not winning a league game for a month, or lose every pre-season game and hit the ground running.
“It’s about getting them fit and getting a bit of unity into them.
“At times they play fatigued because they do so much running on the back of games.
“The games in pre-season are just part of the training programme so they generally don’t have days off before or after.
“It’s just the next bit of training for them.”