Onside: Transfer tightrope for Boro

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IF you thought the post-Christmas sales on the packed high streets were manic then brace yourselves - because the January transfer market makes the hunt for a bargain on the floors of the retail giants look timid.

The rumours, as ever, are circulating.

January has turned very much into a last chance saloon for desperate clubs in dog fights looking to spark their season with an inspired signing who can launch one final bid for survival. or teams flying high at the top eager to add finishing touches to a promotion race.

But for the Boro, this year it might prove relatively quiet, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

A forward-thinking midfield player or attacker to play in the role of the out-of-sorts Marvin Emnes would be welcomed with open arms.

Especially taking into account the system Mogga seems to be favouring at the minute with two men, one always being Scott McDonald, playing off the Juke or Miller.

But Muzzy Carayol, edging ever closer to fitness and striking fear into the eyes of full backs up and down the Championship, should adhere to the cliche of being “like a new signing”.

Far more important for the Boro this month is keeping a tight grip on our current squad.

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that Jason Steele, the league’s best goalkeeper bar none, is being touted about for a move to one of the big boys.

But the 22-year-old is now our most important asset and it will take an incredibly hefty bid to even tempt Mogga to cash in.

And the one advantage of Rolls Rhys’s long injury lay off will mean PL teams haven’t had the chance to sniff around the classy Aussie.

What may well prove just as vital for Boro is the ins and outs at other clubs.

Crystal Palace’s rather surprisingly good start to the season, which has seen them never budge from the top six, could be under threat if Wilfried Zaha is snapped up.

With the signing of Chris Wood, the improving Leicester seem to be continueing to adopt their their if-you-play-well-against-us-we-will-buy-you system.

While Hull, seemingly with money to spend, may well yet get a couple more players on the dotted line after making a couple of loan deals permanent.

After losing Wood, Millwall may well lose ground, but Watford are showing no signs of halting progress and could make an addition or two.

But, even with the possibilty of changes elsewhere, Boro are in a good position.

The physio table was the place-to-be as the injury hit list grew over Christmas, but other than the Derby result, we coped well.

Now we just need to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes as last year and pick up points to stay in the mix while the transfer circus takes care of itself.

- DOMINIC SHAW