Aitor Karanka will resist the temptation to buy for the sake of it in January, insisting signings will only be brought in if they are better than his current squad.
Ahead of today’s Championship trip to Millwall, Jose Mourinho’s former Real Madrid assistant said the Teessiders are working hard to identify talent in key areas of the field.
He insists there will be no panic-buying – despite Boro’s lowly 19th position in the table.
The Spaniard said: “The club and myself are watching players to strengthen the squad but we have one thing clear – players who come must be better than the players we have at the moment.
“We are working on other players in other leagues and when the window opens in January we will try to get players.
“If some players arrive it will be good and if they don’t I’m happy with my team.
“We will see on January 31 if we have any more players, but if one player or two players come here they will be better than the players we have here now.”
Karanka has already hinted any incoming transfers are likely to be balanced by players heading out the door.
He added: “I said to the club before I came here I don’t like having too many players because a lot of players are trying 100% and it’s difficult for me to choose 18 for each game.”
With goalkeeper Jason Steele likely to be sidelined until January with his ankle injury, Karanka is keen to extend former Newcastle United veteran Shay Given’s loan from Aston Villa, which ends after the Bolton game on New Year’s Day.
Karanka said: “I think Jason’s injury is going to take more time than we thought in the beginning.
“We are working with Shay because I think he’s happy here and all of us are very happy with him here.
“He gives us a lot of experience in the dressing room with the players and on the pitch in the game and I would like to see Shay continue here in January.
“Yet it doesn’t depend only on us. He knows how important it is for us, but we’ll see.”
Defender Jonathan Woodgate is battling to recover from a thigh problem in time to figure at The Den in today’s late kick-off.
Striker Marvin Emnes. who missed the Brighton defeat with a slight hamstring injury, has a chance of returning after nursing the strain this week but Steele, striker Kei Kamara (knee) and full-back Andy Halliday (hernia) will not feature. Millwall will check on Alan Dunne’s badly-gashed knee.
Justin Hoyte cannot replace him as he is on loan from Boro, while boss Steve Lomas admitted he was considering changes at the back.