Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAC'S LIKE A NEW SIGNING; Boss Hails Hitman's Return for Big Run-In McDonald 'Can Play Big Part' for Boro

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

MAC'S LIKE A NEW SIGNING; Boss Hails Hitman's Return for Big Run-In McDonald 'Can Play Big Part' for Boro

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM STEEL

TONY Mowbray believes Scott McDonald can be like a new signing for Boro as the Championship play-off race enters the final furlong.

McDonald made a livewire return from eight weeks out with a medial knee ligament injury in Saturday's 1-1 draw at promotion rivals Brighton to suggest that he could have a key role to play in Boro's quest for Premier League football.

The Australian striker brought a fresh spark to an already lively game when he replaced Marvin Emnes with 20 minutes to go, and almost had a hand in a second Boro goal when he saw Lukas Jutkiewicz hit the post from his lay-off.

Boro manager Mowbray said: "I think Scott McDonald can be like a new signing for us.

"He has been bursting out of his skin to get back on the scoresheet and put the energy and athleticism into the game that he brings to our team.

"That is something we will utilise over the next four weeks.

"He is very sharp and he has worked extraordinarily hard to be honest and it's a great credit to him that he has been training a week and physically his body is in that shape.

"It suggests without running on his leg he has been doing a lot of work to keep aerobically fit."

McDonald scored nine times for Boro before breaking down in a 2-2 draw at Leicester on February 1, and has given his all in the treatment room since to get back to full fitness.

As well as chesting the ball off to create a chance for Jutkiewicz with one of his first touches at the Amex Stadium, the former Celtic and Dunfermline forward showed he has lost none of his competitive edge in an off-the-ball tussle with Brighton defender Adam El-Abd.

"Scott McDonald looked sharp," Mowbray said.

"He has been sharp in training for the last week and his ability to turn and spin and keep going and work the opposition defenders is going to be crucial to us I think over the next four weeks.

"I'm looking forward to Scott bursting back on the scene full of energy with something to prove and wanting to score some goals. …

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