Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We've Got the Fire Power - McClaren

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We've Got the Fire Power - McClaren

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jack Pickering

Boss Steve McClaren is backing his misfiring Middlesbrough strikers to dig their side out of a hole.

Boro travel to Tottenham tomorrow having slipped into the Barclaycard Premiership's bottom three, the result of a failure to make the pressure tell in home games against Chelsea and Newcastle which ultimately ended in defeat.

The Teessiders have scored only seven goals in nine Premier League outings so far this season, which had led some fans to bemoan afresh that chairman Steve Gibson did not push out the boat to sign want-away Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips during the summer.

However, McClaren is confident in fit-again Massimo Maccarone, Malcolm Christie, Szilard Nemeth, Michael Ricketts and, when he returns from a knee ligament injury, Joseph-Desire Job, Boro have the firepower to make their mark.

The manager invested his faith - and a club record pounds 8.15million of his chairman's money - in Maccarone last summer, and McClaren is confident there is much, much more to come from the Italian.

"He was our top scorer last season," said the Middlesbrough manager.

"He scored nine, which wasn't a great amount, but he was our top scorer and he also had nine assists, so he does create opportunities as well with his movement and his overall play.

"I'm happy with the strikers and I feel as if we've just signed another one with Massimo coming back into he squad.

"It's a massive year for him. We said last season it was always going to be difficult, him settling in, but everybody saw last year the potential that he's got, especially in the first 10 games when he was on fire.

"He's coming back and needs to do it again. Everybody talks about pressure, but that's part and parcel of the game and strikers come under it probably a lot more than other players."

Maccarone is yet to start a game after badly damaging an ankle at the end of pre-season, just when he was looking sharp having spent the summer working on his strength. …

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