PATRICK Bamford is expected to join Middlesbrough on a season-long loan in the coming days.
It is not anticipated that Bamford will have signed before tonight’s Championship clash at Bolton Wanderers (kick off 8pm), with the weekend home game with Sheffield Wednesday likely to be his debut.
The 20-year-old Chelsea striker is regarded as one of the brightest attacking players in the country and his impending arrival will ease the burden on summer recruit Kike.
Privately-schooled Bamford has spent two loan spells at MK Dons and more recently at Derby County during the latter part of last season.
Boro boss Aitor Karanka hopes that the England youth international completes the formalities of his deal before the end of the week.
He told BBC Tees: “He is a player who I want to be here as soon as possible but it’s not in my hands.
“I have to spoken to him and I have placed all my trust on him.
“He can be a very good player for us as we only have Kike as our striker.
“But at the moment he is not my player.”
A deal for Bamford would presumably free up fellow England youth ace Bradley Fewster to move away from Boro in a loan deal, possibly Hartlepool United.
As for tonight’s test against the Trotters, Karanka reflected to last season’s New Year’s Day 2-2 draw in Lancashire as proof that complacency is the foe.
“Last season we were winning 2-0 in the first 15 minutes and we finished the game having drawn,” he said.
“We have to learn from that.
“There are no easy games in this league.
“It’s a difficult away game yet we have to go there and win.”
Karanka is set to make changes to the team that lost 1-0 at Leeds on Saturday, though the game comes too early for defender Ben Gibson (hamstring).
Adam Clayton could make his first start since signing from Huddersfield with Dean Whitehead dropping to the bench.
Boro will tonight face a Wanderers side still awaiting their first win of the programme, even though they twice led Nottingham Forest at home on Saturday – Joe Mason, signed from Cardiff, heading Dougie Freedman’s team in front.
Former Boro star David Wheater added a second but Britt Assombalonga equalised on both occasions for Forest.