AITOR Karanka has insisted he has other avenues to pursue should the drawn-out quest for Patrick Bamford’s signature end in failure.
It was thought that the Chelsea striker had all but agreed to join Middlesbrough earlier in the week, with only unsigned paperwork precluding him from making his debut against Bolton on Tuesday.
But the 20-year-old is considering his options with a number of clubs after his services and is now unlikely to team up with the Teessiders ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Sheffield Wednesday (kick off 3pm).
Spanish boss Karanka is desperate to land the privately-schooled England youth international but will grow impatient if the former Derby loanee continues to waver and move onto different targets.
A move for wantaway Hartlepool United ace Luke James is not thought to be high on the list with Karanka wanting a forward who is capable of playing Championship football immediately.
“Patrick… it is the same situation. The club is working,” Karanka told BBC Tees.
“I hope our last game (2-1 win at Bolton) convinced him a little bit more.
“Imagine if we were bottom, it would be difficult for him to want to come here.
“But we are fighting for higher positions and with a full squad it is easier to convince him.
“We know he has other options because he is a good player but I want players who want to be here and thinking 100 per cent about Middlesbrough.”
Asked on the next move, Karanka commented: “Of course (I have other players he is interested in).
“We are working on other players because we have to have other alternatives but they also have alternatives.
“I need a decision as soon as possible.”
The grind-it-out manner of Boro’s win against Bolton in midweek was a source of pleasure for Karanka who praised his team for mixing their passing style with the favoured long-ball of the Trotters.
The visit of the Owls to the Riverside will see a more fluid, attacking performance from both outfits, Karanka believes.
“I expect a different game tomorrow,” he said.
“It could be good for us because they play football and for us it’s easier to play against that type of team.
“We prefer to play football and at home we know that are expected to play.”