NEIL WARNOCK has agreed the terms of a loan agreement for its number one transfer goal. However, the Middlesbrough manager admits the signing may remain in balance until the final hours of this month’s transfer window.
While Warnock accepts he won’t sign a new center-forward this month and has drawn a line beneath his lengthy pursuit of Everton winger Yannick Bolasie, he remains determined to recruit at least one attacking broad-minded player to add to his squad.
There is a deal for a Premier League winger in which the player in question is said to have played as a central striker in the past. However, Warnock has been told that he may have to wait until the February 1st transfer date to be able to make the transfer.
He is also considering a move towards one of two “wildcard” options offered to him in the past few days, with the Boro hierarchy having confirmed their willingness to fund some acquisitions.
“I’ll get someone into the wide positions before the deadline,” Warnock said ahead of today’s game at Nottingham Forest. “I’m still optimistic about my number one goal, but it looks like I’m getting on the line. We agreed everything with the player and the club. It’s just a matter of the manager agreeing to let the player go. You can’t really do anything until that happens, and you can’t really blame the managers for looking after their own club.
“I’m still optimistic that this will happen as long as the club concerned doesn’t suffer any more injuries. In addition, I could play on another one. There are a couple of players that I think, “Well, I could play someone like this” just to help us through the end of the season. ”
Warnock expects to loan a few of his fringe players before the end of the month. Grant Hall’s imminent return should pave the way for Nathan Wood’s temporary departure, but he is currently not expecting Patrick Roberts to lose.
The Manchester City loanee has only made three league starts since returning to Riverside in the summer but his parents’ club doesn’t want him back at Etihad this month and his agent hasn’t been able to secure him an alternate loan deal for the remainder of the season.
“I’m not sure Manchester City want him back right now,” said Warnock. “Patrick is with us and I told him he had to put down. Even when he’s not on my mind, things change.
“He always has to show me what he can do in training. I don’t think his agent gave him any options, so I don’t think there’s much on the table. Patrick just has to lie down and try to get into my mind. ”
Roberts will be back on the bench tonight as Boro will attempt to return to winning ways against a Forest side who have been unbeaten in the last seven games of any competition.
The Teessiders are four points behind play-off positions following their home defeat to Birmingham on Saturday, and Warnock admits they need to start a sustained undefeated run in order not to break away from the promotion pack.
“You have (Forest) unbeaten seven games and that helps your confidence,” he said. “Instead of winning one and losing one, I want us to put a run together.” I think we are more than capable of that. ”
Middlesbrough (4-3-3): Bettinelli; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair, Bola; Saville, Howson, Morsy; Watmore, Assombalonga, Johnson.