8:00am Friday 23rd August 2013
By Steph Clark
TONY MOWBRAY has revealed Middlesbrough are yet to agree deals for a number of their targets, but insists work continues behind the scenes to bring players to the club.
Yesterday brought speculation that a double deal had been agreed with Norwich City for striker Luciano Becchio and defender Daniel Ayala, but while both are thought to be in Mowbray's thinking, the Boro boss insists talk of their imminent arrivals is premature.
Mowbray had made no secret of his desire to strengthen is those areas, but until now he has been frustrated in his quest to bring in reinforcements.
It isn't the first time Becchio has been linked with a move to Teesside following interest during his time at Leeds United and it isn't out of the question he could be allowed to leave Carrow Road this season.
Canaries boss Chris Hughton has signed two strikers this summer in Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper, leaving the Argentina striker down the pecking order.
Spanish defender Ayala is in a similar position to Becchio with his first-team opportunities also limited and it is likely the 22-year-old will be allowed to leave having spent half of last season on loan at Nottingham Forest.
Mowbray's attempts to sign Ross McCormack continue to stutter and it remains to be seen whether chairman Steve Gibson will sanction a fifth bid having seen their most recent offer of £1.5m knocked back.
Boro go to Wigan on Sunday looking to record their second away win of the campaign, but any chances of having any new faces available are fading.
"There's no deal for any player been agreed, but we are in conversations with two or three football clubs at the moment," Mowbray revealed.
"Everyone knows we are trying to help our squad by adding some quality to it. I think it's probably wrong for me to sit here and discuss certain individuals and players who are employed by different football clubs.
"There's nothing overly encouraging. We are pursuing other players at the same time. We had three or four bids in for different players and we wait and see to which one of those come to fruition.
"I have had numerous conversations with managers about footballers and the availability of those footballers. We have to wait and see. In any negotiation it's not one man to one man, there's a lot of people involved. Agents, chief executives, families, numerous things that can make a deal complicated.
"Most deals don't fall into your lap. You have to do a lot of groundwork normally and you have to weigh up lots of different ideas.
"It is hard to keep your business private but it isn't easy to in the modern world. We're working through our options. There's a million agents dropping one million names to us."
While there hasn't been a breakthrough on signings, Mowbray also revealed there had been no offers for Justin Hoyte, who continues to be linked with Millwall.
The right-back is yet to feature for the Teessiders this season, but the Boro boss insists that isn't because he is surplus to requirements.
He said: "We haven't had any offers for Justin. He was behind the rest of the squad in terms of fitness. He spent the summer in America playing for his country, which he has every entitlement to do, but his preparation was behind everyone else.
"If we did receive an offer and it was something he wanted to do then we would discuss it with him."
Jason Steele will be given every opportunity to be fit for Sunday's trip to the DW Stadium even if he hasn't trained properly all week.
The goalkeeper suffered an ankle injury in the latter stages of Boro's win at Charlton, but he did do a light session yesterday and the extra 24 hours to get fit could work in his favour.
"Jason did a light session, but he hasn't trained properly since Charlton," Mowbray revealed. "We'll see whether he has a reaction. We'll see what the next few days bring and if he gets the green light after training there's no reason why he can't play on Sunday."
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