Time to come clean over big guns!
Boro have set off to bonny Scotland for their second pre-season friendly game of the summer against Dumbarton and following on from the 3-0 ‘mauling’ of Macclesfield on Saturday.
However the talking point ahead of the game is more to do with who is NOT playing as opposed to the side Gareth Southgate pitches into battle north of the border on Wednesday evening!
Mido, who has finally mustered up the motivation to get his portly Egyptian back side to the Boro’s Rockliffe Park training ground, minus a few hundred grand in wages following his extra two-week summer sabbatical, is understandably not included for fitness reasons and should never play for the club again!
However, once again Tuncay Sanli and Afonso Alves are notable by their absence due to ‘injuries’ if the official club line is to be believed? Strange how the two players the club would most likely love to offload for financial purposes this summer are the ones who have picked up mysterious injuries despite two months on a beach!
I could be barking up the wrong tree completely and both players may well be suffering with respective back and Achilles problems. However if the club are hoodwinking the fans then it is out of order and a cause for concern!
Personally I would see no problem if Gareth Southgate said that the players the club want to sell will not play in friendly matches so they do not pick up injuries which could scupper a move.
However what I fear is the club are leaving them out on purpose, while still refusing to sign any new strikers for the Championship season as replacements.
Southgate has already warned the Stewy Downing money won’t be thrown about like confetti at a wedding do as he wants more forwards offloaded before actively going out to bring any new ones in. But if two of those strikers are really fit and not getting match action and are still here by August 31, they will be no use to man or beast!
On the other side of the coin if the players are genuinely injured we should be looking at reinforcements otherwise we could well be starting the new campaign with a renowned toothless forward line depleted further!
Whatever is going on behind the scenes it has become a sad day when fans have to question the club’s sincerity thanks to the questionable decisions and contradictory comments that have emanated from the Riverside in the past 12 months!
Written by Craig Smithson, a Middlesbrough season-ticket holder and a sports writer who blogs about football betting.