Darragh Lenihan Says Middlesbrough Will Improve When Keys Players Return


DARRAGH LENIHAN is confident Middlesbrough will improve as some of their key players continue to return to the fold over the course of the next couple of weeks.

Having missed the whole of pre-season through injury, Jonny Howson was an 80th-minute substitute as Boro kicked off the new campaign with a 1-0 home defeat to Millwall at the weekend. The skipper might well be promoted to the starting line-up for tomorrow’s Carabao Cup first-round game at Huddersfield Town.


Chuba Akpom was an unused substitute against Millwall, along with Josh Coburn, and while the pair were not deemed to be ready to participate after also missing the entire pre-season programme through injury, Michael Carrick was nevertheless keen to begin reintegrating them back into the squad.

Jonny Howson: Middlesbrough midfielder signs new contract until the summer of 2022 - BBC Sport

Can’t Stand Cleaning? Try This Genius Japanese Invention
consumer-focus.com | Sponsored

SUBSCRIBE to The Northern Echo – read the paper on our brand-new app, access premium website content, remove adverts and join our exclusive members-only rewards club

Akpom is a pivotal figure after ending last season as the Championship’s Player of the Year, while Howson is Boro’s skipper and midfield general, and Lenihan is looking forward to having them both back in the starting side.


“It was great to see the likes of Jonny Howson back, with Chuba on the bench as well,” said the centre-half, who has embarked on his second season as a Boro player. “They’re important players for us, so it’s good to have them coming back into the group because we need a competitive squad to compete in this league.

Analysis – ‘Middlesbrough have time to put things right – but have regressed since the end of last season’

Michael Carrick’s transfer claim after Boro’s opening-day defeat

Match Ratings – Some low marks as Boro struggle in defeat to Millwall
“Injuries are part and parcel of this league, but it’s great to see Jonny back and Chuba on the bench. I’m sure we’ll have more players coming into the fold too and that’s always a boost for everyone.”


Boro’s defeat means it is now nine years since the club won their opening league game of the season, a dreadful record that never really looked like being improved at the weekend.


The Teessiders struggled to create chances against a typically well-drilled Millwall side, and were undone with 11 minutes left when Romain Esse converted Aidomo Emakhu’s low cross.


“It was very disappointing,” admitted Lenihan. “Obviously, coming into the first game of the season, you want to make a good start. We have to try to take some positives though, and having played in it and now reflecting on it, there are some we can take. It’s disappointing, but obviously we have to learn from it and move on to the next one.


“We knew what we were up against. They’re a good team – very organised and good on the break. We’re disappointed with the goal we conceded, but as I say, we have to learn and move on from it.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *