Neil Warnock makes transfer admission as Middlesbrough boss hopes for boost at Norwich City

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Neil Warnock has admitted Middlesbrough are unlikely to sign another striker in January – but is hopeful Ashley Fletcher will return to action later this month.

Fletcher, who was Boro’s top scorer last season, has been absent for most of the campaign after suffering a hamstring injury against Bournemouth back in September.

The striker has returned to training in recent weeks and will provide competition for fellow forwards Britt Assombalonga, Duncan Watmore and Chuba Akpom.

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Boro are yet to make an outfield signing since the transfer window reopened, with reports linking them with a move for Bristol City frontman Famara Diedhiou.

Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.

Yet, despite wanting to bolster his attacking options, Warnock concedes Boro are unlikely to bring in another striker in the next few weeks.

As for Fletcher, it’s hoped the 25-year-old will be available for the team’s trip to Championship leaders Norwich on January 30.

Boro were boosted by the return of Jonny Howson at the weekend as the midfielder came off the bench during a 1-0 defeat by Birmingham at the Riverside.

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“It’s a positive seeing Ashley getting back,” said Warnock after the game.

“When you’ve got what we’ve got, you need people like Ashley fit. It’s nice to get Jonny back, and hopefully it won’t be long until we’ve got Ashley back too.

“I think he’s probably looking at the Norwich game for being involved. I think before that, he needs a couple of weeks training because he hasn’t really joined in with us properly yet.

“He’s played in a couple of little training games as a floater, but it will be nice to see him getting a bit more football in the next two weeks.

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“I don’t think we can rush it now when we’ve waited all this time. It’s unlikely we’re going to get another striker, so we really need him and have to make sure he’s right.”

Warnock remains hopeful Boro can sign another wide player on loan but may have to wait for Premier League clubs to make decisions about some of their fringe players.

The Teessiders may also try to sign another centre-back and have discussed sending teenager Nathan Wood out on loan to gain more first-team experience.

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