New West Bromwich Albion striker Marc-Antoine Fortune could make his debut in tomorrow’s clash with relegation-threatened Middlesbrough at The Hawthorns.
The 27-year-old Frenchman could be thrown straight in to replace Roman Bednar, who is serving a one-match ban, as long as international clearance is given.
Manager Tony Mowbray said he was delighted to have secured the 6ft striker’s services on loan from Nancy until the end of the season, and said he was confident Fortune would settle in.
“I really like good footballers and basically Marc-Antoine’s a good footballer who plays centre-forward,” said Mowbray.
“Hopefully, you’ll see a player who has got a good appreciation of the ball, good movement, can hold it up for his team and will hopefully threaten the goal.
“I’m delighted he’s here and I hope he’ll contribute to our team. I think he’ll fit into the way we play and hopefully he can add goals as well.
“He’s a natural forward and if you want him to play up front on his own, like he has done for Nancy, he can do that.
“Sometimes, when you sign new players, you’ve got to let them settle into your team. He’ll have to fit into the shape of the team.
“Ultimately, I want to bring in good footballers - and he falls into that category.”
Mowbray had been linked with two other striking targets,
Paris St Germain striker Pegguy Luyindula and Benfica’s Ariza Makukula, but said neither were likely to happen.
“Makukula did come over here but that one is not going to happen for a few reasons,” he said.
“I don’t think anything will happen with Luyindula, either, although I can’t say for definite.”
Mowbray is still looking to bring in at least one more new face, and said he was still looking for a midfielder and possibly another striker.
But he insists if there are no further new arrivals before business closes
on February 2, he is content with his squad.
“I’m reasonably happy with the balance of strikers in our squad,” Mowbray said. “There is potential maybe for one more to come in but that would mean other things happening like others going out.
“There is half a door open for another striker to come in but if that doesn’t happen I won’t be too disappointed. We’ve got a few names and if they come off, great.
“If not, we’ll work with what we’ve got. I think we’ve got a good midfield and yet we’re looking for a certain type of player to help the team. If we can’t get him we’ll get on with what we’ve got. It’s a department in which I think we’re pretty strong.”
Abdoulaye Meite and James Morrison, who both have hamstring injuries, will not be fit and Albion will assess the fitness of full-back Gianni Zuiverloon today.
The Dutch right-back has missed the last three games with the knee injury he picked up against Tottenham 18 days ago, but he is set to return to full training today after which his fitness will be assessed for the visit of Boro.
n Hull City have completed the signing of former Albion winger Kevin Kilbane from Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee.
The 31-year-old Republic of Ireland international has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal at the KC Stadium after passing a medical.
Meanwhile, disciplinary chiefs are considering the touchline spat between Joe Kinnear and Phil Brown which resulted in the pair being sent to the stands.
The Newcastle and Hull managers were ordered from their respective dugouts by referee Phil Dowd during Wednesday night’s FA Cup third-round replay at St James’ Park following an angry confrontation over Fabricio Coloccini’s foul on eventual match-winner Daniel Cousin.
It is understood Mr Dowd’s report is now with the Football Association, who will decide if any further action is to be taken.