Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hero Curtis Is the Main Man for Mowbray

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hero Curtis Is the Main Man for Mowbray

Article excerpt

Derby 0 Middlesbrough 1 TONY Mowbray hailed clinical Curtis Main after a late Rams raid plundered the points that salvaged Middlesbrough's play-off hopes.

The teenage striker came off the bench to rifle home with virtually his first touch on 80 minutes as the Teessiders grabbed a crucial 1-0 win at form side Derby County. That ended a costly run of eight games without a win and inched Boro back to within two points of fifth and set up a tense final three fixtures.

The sweet strike came just two minutes after Main - released by non-league Darlington last summer - was thrown into action.

"He's got a big future in this game," insisted Mowbray. "He showed exactly what a threat he can be, how direct he can be, what potential he has. Clinical. That is what this kid is. He is extremely clinical with both feet, he is powerful and very direct and he is a threat, "You will go a long way to find someone as clinical as he is. He rarely scuffs it. He hits it with either foot and it flies like an arrow into the bottom right, or the bottom left.

"So when he ran through I was positive he wouldn't miss the target."

Boro fans may well wonder why such a raw talent has been used so sparingly in a shot-shy team that has struggled to kill teams off but Mowbray explained Main needed to be nurtured.

"I've never lost faith in him but you can't expect him to score winning goals every game, although he has it in his boots to do that, " said Mowbray.

"His time will come but he's come a long way very quickly and we have to be careful with him.

"You expect that with young players. Sometimes you have take them out of the firing line for a breather."

The win galvanised Boro's faltering play-off push and set them up nicely to step up their bid tomorrow at home to Doncaster, relegated with a defeat to Portsmouth on Saturday.

"Let's hope the win at Derby is an important result, " said Mowbray. "It is still there for us now.

"We had a good chat about how our big players needed to stand and deliver, step forward and get the job done and they did. …

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