Boro eye Croatian ace
But suffer Kevin Thomson blow
By Graeme Bailey - Follow me on Twitter @skygraemebailey. Last Updated: June 30, 2011 8:18pm
Middlesbrough have taken Croatian international Jurica Vranjes on trial along with former Blackpool man Malaury Martin.
Both players are available on free transfers and have linked up with the Boro squad as pre-season training began on Thursday.
Vranjes, 31, has 26 caps to his name and spent most of his career playing in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen.
He spent last season with Genclerbirligi in Turkey and was linked with a move back to his first ever club, NK Osijek, but now he is linking up with Boro.
Likewise, Martin is also looking to impress Boro boss Tony Mowbray.
Martin,22, joined Blackpool last summer from Monaco, but he never got a chance to play as an early injury ruled him out for most of the campaign.
"We've got two trialists in, but we're not in a position to do anything and they know that," said Mowbray.
"They're out of contract and they're in doing pre-season with us. They're in because I've watched them and like their technique and talent. I don't know their personality and this is a chance to see them.
"Malaury Martin was at Blackpool last season and injured his cruciate in the last pre-season game against Kilmarnock, so he missed the whole season. He's a very talented boy and he's a nice kid and a nice footballer.
"Jurica Vranjes played last year in the Turkish Premier League, but has played most of his football at Werder Bremen. He's 31 and a nice, technical, lovely footballer."
Former Boro right-back Stuart Parnaby, one-time Boro trainee Graeme Owens and Middlesbrough-born, ex-Hibs centre-back Chris Hogg are also expected to train with the club.
Meanwhile, one piece of bad news is that Kevin Thomson turned up for training with crutches after injuring an ankle at home.
"Hopefully it's not too bad," said Mowbray.
"He was in Edinburgh doing a little bit of running and he lost his balance and fell over. I think it's more of an ankle problem, but we're getting scans done and we'll know more when the specialists have seen them, and hopefully it won't be too serious.
"The boot is a precautionary measure to take the weight off it. It's disappointing for us because Kevin finished the season strongly.
"My thoughts are for him. He was conscientiously doing some work on his own before he came back. I anticipated Kevin being a big, big player for us this year and I'm sure he still will be."
Boro, meanwhile, are still waiting to hear from out-of-contract Andrew Taylor - who is considering offers from Cardiff and Bristol City, as well as one to remain at The Riverside.