TONY Mowbray believes he has a good enough squad to deal with the heavy demands of pushing for Premier League promotion.
Middlesbrough have been badly stretched by injuries so far this season.
At one stage there were an incredible eleven first-team players cluttering the physio’s room.
Ironically, it was during this period when they defeated Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in a memorable Capital One Cup tie.
However, against big odds they remain third in the Championship with a Capital One Cup quarter-final at Swansea to look forward to tomorrow night, their reward for that success on Wearside.
Swansea will be tough opponents, having reached the quarter-finals courtesy of a memorable 3-1 victory at Liverpool – managed by former Swans boss Brendan Rodgers.
A win in South Wales against more Premier League opposition would be a huge boost to the Boro fans, but a two-legged semi-final would place more strain on Mowbray’s men – for whom the league is a priority by some distance.
However, the manager is happy for the first time he is getting close to full strength with all his injured players getting back to fitness, meaning he can chop and change his starting 11 without fear of hugely affecting the team’s quality.
Mowbray said: “I have a decent-sized squad. We’ve had huge injuries this season and players are starting to come back.
“For example, Rhys Williams, Muzzy Carayol and Julio Arca, when they are fit, will give us quality footballers not making the 18-man squad.
“Of the 18 we had on Saturday at Peterbrough, Ishamel Miller, Lucas Jutkiewicz and Nick Bailey were all unlucky not to play.
“However, we are going to need them all this season.
“Ishmael would have been disappointed not to start at Peterbrough, but to come off the bench and do what he did for us by scoring the winner was so important for the team.
“It shows he has a desire and he is hungry for us.”
Middlesbrough’s players have given their manager little to complain about this season.
If the Championship was decided solely on wages and transfer fees paid out last summer, the man from Teesside would be just above mid-table and nowhere near the play-off places.
Mowbray added: “We are where we are in this league. We’re third because we’re a decent team. We work hard for each other. We have had 19 players who have scored goals for us this season. I would say we are an honest, hard- working football team.
“We changed our squad massively this summer, when ten players left and 12 came in.
“We signed Emmanuel Ledesma from Walsall and Carayol from Bristol Rovers. It’s not as if we’ve spent money. “