8:00am Tuesday 6th August 2013
By Paul Fraser
TONY MOWBRAY insists Middlesbrough are not pinning all their hopes on landing Albert Adomah by claiming last night the Bristol City winger is merely one of “a number” of options being pursued on the transfer front.
Boro’s preparations for tonight’s Capital One Cup first round tie with Accrington Stanley have been going on while high-level negotiations with a number of clubs have taken place to land the four new players Mowbray is keen to see strengthen his squad.
Middlesbrough have been frustrated so far in their search to bring in the sort of quality the manager wants to see arrive at the Riverside Stadium before the transfer window closes on September 2.
But Mowbray remains hopeful deals will be concluded, even though the Championship season started with a defeat to Leicester City on Saturday when Jozsef Varga and Dean Whitehead were Middlesbrough’s only two summer signings on show.
Adomah has been one of the Boro boss’ main targets, but a £1m deal has stalled over the way the fee is structured and big-spending Wigan’s re-emergence as contenders for his signature have further complicated things.
Mowbray, however, remains optimistic his squad will receive a boost in numbers sooner rather than later even if an agreement cannot be reached for Adomah.
“We are dealing with clubs – four that I know of – and it’s what drops in,” said Mowbray. “People are focused on the boy from Bristol City, that’s fine, and yet that might progress no further. We might take another deal that progresses quicker.
“It takes a lot of parties to agree to get a deal done. There’s lot of things that need to fall in to place. I am frustrated. Everyone is frustrated because you want them in as early as you can.
“Here we are, the season is underway, and we are still waiting. I am very confident we will get the players in, we just have to make sure the deals are what is best for the club. I would have to say we would like three or four new players, which is what we are working on.”
Mowbray rubbished internet rumours that Napoli striker Eduardo Vargas had been at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
The situation remains that Varga, Whitehead and, most recently, Frazer Richardson are the only new faces in a squad which has lost 11 first team players since January.
Mowbray makes no secret of the fact he would have preferred greater options for the start of the campaign, but he is determined not to dwell on what could have been.
He said: “I could be AVB (Andre Villas-Boas), Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson talking about Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez ... every time they are asked they have to answer the transfer questions.
“I am the same as all the Boro fans, the same as the chairman, the chief executive, we all want new players. There’s three weeks left of the transfer window and clubs want to see if they can edge a bit more out of a deal. We are trying to progress lots of different avenues. Whichever option drops in for me then that’s fine. The clubs we find hard to deal with we won’t go back to.”
He added: “We have tried really hard to bring in permanent signings. Loans are always late deals. We have names in mind for loans, but we have very specific targets in mind in other areas of the pitch.
“You’re better off signing players who are your own rather than bringing in loans who might have half an eye on something else. We try to secure signings that we can nail down and then the loan market, if we feel it is pertinent, we will have a look at when clubs decide who might be allowed out.”
What Saturday’s defeat to Leicester further highlighted was that Middlesbrough do not have the strength in depth to boast a bench capable of changing the flow of a game.
“There were plenty of good signs early on against Leicester, so we will build on those and stay strong,” said Mowbray. “I just think the group needs a bit of help, some more options. We understand we are not going to sign a superstar footballer, but we need players to come in and help the group of players who pick up knocks or lose a bit of confidence. We need to be able to change the team with players who feel they should be in there on merit.”
Richardson, who signed a one-year deal on Friday after leaving Southampton, will not figure against Accrington tonight. Another absentee will be defender Jonathan Woodgate. The former Newcastle defender’s father, Alan, passed away after a lengthy battle against illness, but he wanted to face Leicester despite being told he could miss the match.
Mowbray said: “It was an emotional decision from him to play. I have lost someone close to me, it is an emotional time. He tried to use that in a positive nature and credit to him. He will not feature Tuesday, he has things to organise.”
Middlesbrough probable (4-2-3-1): Steele; Hoyte, R Williams, Gibson, Halliday; Varga, Whitehead; L Williams, Leadbitter, Ledesma; Jutkiewicz.
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