The Middlesbrough coach Chris Wilder was very happy last week that he won the race for the signature of the Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun, and he also brought in the Brighton striker Aaron Connolly to help in Boro’s bid to win promotion to the Premier League.
Both of those players made their debut yeserday against Reading, with Balogun replacing Connolly in the 67th minute with the score at 0-0. Reading immediately took the lead, but Balogun helped as Matt Crooks scored twice in the last 10 minutes for a great comeback win.
This leave Chris Wilder’s side in 6th, just 7 points below automatic promotion, and the Boro boss gave his thoughts on his new arrivals after the game: “Yeah, it’s going to take a couple of weeks to get those boys up to speed,”
“But it was nice to have those options on the bench.”
He continued: “But the bench is looking better. It’s one thing, when I first took over, I looked around and I didn’t have the options to do what we did today.
“I thought the contribution of the forwards was good. We gambled, we changed the shape a couple of times.
“Aaron looked bright in the time he was on the pitch and he will get better.
“Both he and Flo got really good receptions from the punters. And Flo, Josh and Duncan gave us a spark to try and get back in.
“As soon as we did get back in, it was just a matter of when not if we got back into the game.”
Of course Arsenal would be keen to see Balogun getting a run of playing every week, but the fact that he also has competition from Connolly will help him to try even harder to win his place in the starting XI.
This loan is crucial for Arsenal, and it could mean the difference between promoting Balogun or having to invest a large sack of millions to bring in a proven replacement….