August 22 2000
Robson orders weary Boksic to take a rest
BY OUR SPORTS STAFF
BRYAN ROBSON yesterday nominated Alen Boksic as the finest
striker in the FA Carling Premiership, but the Middlesbrough manager
ordered complete rest for the Croatian before the match against
Hotspur at the Riverside Stadium tonight.
Boksic is feeling the pace after his first
game for three months last Saturday, in which he scored
twice in the 3-1 victory away to Coventry City.
"He is one of the best in the world," Robson said. "If he'd
played for France, Germany or Holland he would be a
legend. But Croatia does not get the same recognition, even
though they have been to finals.
"I played against Michel Platini and Zico and loved them, but
the player who e***s me now is Alen. He was unbelievable
when Marseilles won the European Cup but he is at his peak
now at 30. He has all the knowledge and ability, but we have
to be careful with him because he is an explosive player.
"Since he arrived I've realised exactly how he does play and
in games it is either walking or sprinting. There is nothing in
between - that's what makes him so exciting. Now my job is
to keep him away from injury and in a Middlesbrough shirt.
Myself and the medical staff will have to monitor him. Up to
two years ago he had a good appearances record and he's
only had the one injury.
"But we've got to make the preparation and toning of
muscles right. We've got to give him rest. I've got to keep
him playing, because he is the best."
Middlesbrough are paying a significant amount of money in
wages for the 2.5 million player, but Robson said: "Just ask
the Middlesbrough fans what they think. Ask them if they
want to see him in the team or not. They were disappointed
we didn't sign Juninho, and so was I, but Alen has cost less
than half the price and he is the best."
Gary Pallister is also likely to have recovered from an ankle
injury in time for the Tottenham match.
"After three games I'll know what sort of season we're going
to have," Robson added. "We play Leeds after Spurs. Leeds
are going for trophies and Spurs are going for that Uefa
place, and after that I'll know."
Preston North End are ready to make a surprise move for
Mark Burchill, the Celtic forward. The Scotland international
has been targeted by David Moyes, the Preston manager,
because the arrival of Chris Sutton at Parkhead, as well as
Henrik Larsson's return to fitness, has reduced Burchill's
Moyes failed to tempt Richard Cresswell, the Sheffield
Wednesday striker, to Deepdale last week and is at present
without Bjarki Gunnlaugsson, the foward, who has a groin
"We have had discussions with Celtic regarding Mark
Burchill," Tony Scholes, the Preston chief executive, said last
night. "Various options have been discussed but we are not
willing to elaborate on these until, or unless, matters progress
Reading yesterday signed Jamie Cureton, who scored 53
goals in the past two seasons with Bristol Rovers, for
250,000. Cureton, 24, is seen as a replacement for Nicky
Forster, a long-term injury victim at the Madejski Stadium.
Cureton has signed a three-year deal and will make his debut
against Leyton Orient in the Worthington Cup tonight.
"Jamie is a proven goalscorer. We all know that we need
goals to get out of the second division and we need to make
sure we've got the means to do that," Alan Pardew, the
Reading manager, said.
Norwich City have signed Brian McGovern, the 20-year-old
Arsenal defender, for 50,000 after he impressed on loan at