8:00am Thursday 15th August 2013
By Paul Fraser
AS Tony Mowbray weighs up ways of bringing in a new striker, Middlesbrough could already have unearthed a little midfield magician in the transfer market this summer.
Mowbray has made no secret of attempts to improve his team's firepower and offers for Leeds United's Ross McCormack and Malmo's Takelo Rantie have so far come to nothing after being rebuffed.
The Middlesbrough did have success earlier in the close-season, though, when he strengthened his midfield with ex-Stoke City man Dean Whitehead and Debrecen's Jozsef Varga.
While Whitehead's qualities were well known after years in the top two divisions with Stoke and Sunderland, Varga was more of an unknown when he headed for Teesside on a season-long loan.
But after an impressive outing in last Saturday's 1-0 win at Charlton, Mowbray believes Middlesbrough supporters have only seen a glimpse of what he is capable of.
“He's a Hungarian international we toyed with signing in January,” said the Boro boss. “He has acclimatised through pre-season, that's why we did it when we did, so he had more time to get used to what we want here.
“He can float across the ground, gets in nice pockets of space. He can be a goal threat for us. He is a lovely character and a nice guy. I'm delighted he has helped us win a match and I'm sure there will be more from him.”
Varga's presence on the pitch was invaluable at The Valley, where he popped up in a variety of positions to put in a tackle, play the right pass and make runs in to the penalty area.
It is at the top end of the pitch where Mowbray is still looking to improve on and striking a deal for at least one new striker is high in his thinking before the transfer window closes on September 2.
He is satisfied with the progress made by Lukas Jutkiewicz. The 24-year-old has scored in his last two matches ahead of this Saturday's visit of Blackpool, but the hope is to have an alternative.
“We are trying very very hard to add quality to our squad,” he said. “Hopefully we will kill teams on a more consistent basis. There's lots of good players who could help us.
“Two strikers are needed. Hopefully one of those will drop in at least. Juke up front is a big powerful boy, he allows wide players to join him, but sometimes we need a different type of player to change the game and then we will become more potent.”
Middlesbrough are continuing to monitor the fitness of Jason Steele. The highly-rated goalkeeper has been having treatment on the ankle injury sustained in the second half of the Charlton match.
Steele has not been ruled out of this weekend's date with Blackpool, but he will be examined closely in the next 48 hours before a decision is made to call on deputy Jayson Leutwiler on Saturday.
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