The Australian striker has battled for opportunities at Boro this campaign, but appears to be making to most of his recent chances to work himself into favour
|By WILLIAM VALLELY
Australian front man Scott McDonald is hoping his match-winning performance for Middlesbrough against Bolton will help him force his way into his side's XI for Tuesday's League Cup tie with Sunderland.
The 29-year-old came off the bench in the 21st minute of the Championship clash on Saturday to replace injured Dutch striker Marvin Emnes, and scored his first double of the season to help Boro to three points at Riverside Stadium.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray hailed the influence of the former Celtic man: "Scott came on and did what he does best, getting into the right place at the right time and putting the ball into the back of the net," Mowbray told reporters after the match.
"Like any other player, Scott wouldn't have been too happy sitting on the bench, but when his opportunity came, he came on and took it."
McDonald has managed just four league appearances in the Championship this season, but has scored three goals.
His manager was optimistic when asked about the his striker's future role in the side: "The challenge for Scott is to keep scoring goals and to make it very difficult for me to change the team," he said.
McDonald is confident of his sides' chances against Premier League opposition Sunderland in the Tees-Wear derby.
"We went there last season in the cup and gave them a scare and we should have won the game - and for me, we're a better team now," McDonald told The Evening Gazette.
"The dynamics of the team is very different. We've got attacking options now. You look around the changing room and you see players who can create chances and players who can score," he said.
The fringe Australia international will look to carry his goal-scoring form into the fourth round tie to force a positive result for his side at the Stadium of Light.
"I'm sure we can be a threat to them. We're going there confident and with real momentum," he said.