Onside: Boro’s bargain battlers

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TONY Mowbray is achieving success on a shoestring budget - mainly due to the shrewd and fantastic business he completed in the summer.

When Mogga came ‘home’, his agenda handed to him by Steve Gibson was two-fold, take the Boro back to the promised land - but first and foremost cut the worryingly high wage bill.

The dark financial clouds left by signing the likes of Afonso Alves and Mido, both expensive mistakes, still gathered densely over the Riverside.

Leroy Lita, David Wheater and Didier Digard were just some of the players on Premier League wages - along with the last-chance-saloon Strachan investments, dragged from the comfort of the SPL.

Mogga has lowered the wage bill and balanced the books incredibly well - but he has done so while improving the output.

Look no further than the classy, yet robust new fan’s favourite George Friend.

The marauding left-back is a Premier League player in the waiting, signed for £100,000 from relegated Doncaster and replacing Joe Bennett, sold for £3.5m which could yet rise to £4m to top level strugglers Aston Villa.

Transfers which Chancellor George Osborne should highlight in the House of Commons as a prime example of how to make cuts effectively!

The classy and cultured Jonathan Woodgate looks, as expected, a cut above in this league.

As does new midfield gaffer Grant Leadbitter.

The Mackem is proving more invaluable to the Boro by the week - proven by the fact he is keeping the much-loved Nicky Bailey out of the 11.

He offers everything what fiery Barry Robson offered and more - without the mutual agreement that a red card will be involved every five games.

Leadbitter stole the show at Sunderland last month, out-battling and out-playing Lee Cattermole.

And he did exactly the same against the excellent Ross Barklay, surely destined for bigger things himself, against Sheffield Wednesday last week.

Faris Haroun, much improved after a slow start to the season, Emmanuel Ledesma and the brilliant Josh McEachran, provided a dynamic midfield four against Wednesday, and is still short of boasting Rolls Rhys and the promising Mustapha Carayol.

Next stop Cardiff, where Boro’s bargain boys will have their toughest test to date in maintaining the fantastic current run of form.

But I fancy us to do just that and think the Mogganaut will steam back to the North-East with a 2-1 win.

- DOMINIC SHAW