Southgate backs Yak to attack
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gareth Southgate has backed misfiring Yakubu Aiyegbeni to find his scoring touch.
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has backed misfiring Yakubu Aiyegbeni to find his scoring touch.
The Nigerian striker has gone 11 games without scoring and his tally of 16 goals this season has now been matched by strike-partner Mark Viduka.
Coincidentally Yakubu finished last season in a similar manner when he went from February without scoring.
But Southgate is confident the barren spell will soon be over.
"It's 11 games now without a goal now for Yakubu. It's a long spell," admitted Southgate.
"But I have left him in because you always feel that your strikers are capable of coming up with something.
"Yakubu is a good player and has scored a lot of goals here. He had a spell like this earlier in the season but he came through it."
Southgate did admit that Yakubu could be rested with South Korean Lee Dong-gook desperate for a start.
"I'll have to look at it and decide what to do," he told the Evening Gazette.
"I've got the option to start with Dong-gook Lee, who gives us something different, but I'll have to think about what is the best way forward."
Meanwhile, Boro have confirmed four pre-season friendlies - all away from home.
They will face Championship side Burnley on 21st July, before facing near neighbours Darlington on 24th July.
A trip to SPL outfit Hibernian will follow on 28th July, after which point they will face Carlisle three days later.