Speaking to the press ahead of Middlesbrough’s trip to Derby County this weekend, Boro boss Neil Warnock discussed the option of giving new signing Nathaniel Mendez-Laing his debut for the club.
Mendez-Laing arrived at Middlesbrough on a free transfer having left Cardiff City last year. His contract was terminated leaving him a free agent.
Warnock had got the best out of him during his time in Wales and was keen to bring the winger to the Riverside to inject some well needed pace and creativity to his Middlesbrough ranks.
The veteran manager was asked about Mendez-Laing in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, to which he stated the reasons why he wasn’t involved against Brentford last weekend and offered an insight into whether he will play against Derby this Saturday.
“He was a little behind the two [other wingers signed in the window Neeskens Kebano and Yannick Bolasie] when he first came in but he’s had a good week this week in training.
“It will be interesting to see how far he’s come and whether or not I can give him half an hour or so just to give him a run before we have a tough run of games coming up.”
After Derby, Middlesbrough take on Huddersfield Town, Reading and Bristol City in their next three fixtures. They will need to get some points on the board if they are to maintain their charge for a top six finish.
Warnock went on to say Mendez-Laing has caught the eye in training so far and that Boro fans may have to be patient given the amount of time the 28-year-old has been out of action, having played his last game back in July.
“He did look very good yesterday, I must admit,” said the Middlesbrough manager.
“But it’s different in a training game on half a pitch than on a full pitch at full speed. It’s a whole different ball game.
“We’ve just got to be careful with these players who have been out for so long.”
Middlesbrough go into the game with Derby having won just one of their last five games, whereas Derby’s loss at the weekend was their first in four, having won the previous three.