Tony Mowbray is eyeing salvation in signings as he looks to lift the gloom of Middlesbrough's painfully familiar start to the Championship season.
Boro are aiming to try and broker a permanent move for some attacking talent this week, with Bristol City’s Albert Adomah a priority target although interest from Wigan Athletic is complicating the deal.
Either way it was clear from Saturday’s 2-1 reverse against Leicester that there is room for improvement for Mowbray’s men, who host Accrington Stanley in the first round of the Capital One Cup tonight.
Boro were beaten quarter-finalists in last year’s competition and Stanley, who were thrashed by Newport on the first day of the League Two season, should be dispatched with relative ease.
That still won’t salve Mowbray’s desire to improve his squad, which has barely changed since the disappointing conclusion to last season.
“I sit here and we do need signings. The club are wary of that as well,” he said.
“I have spoken to my chairman and chief executive on a daily basis and they’re very supportive as well. It’s not me trying to put pressure on anybody.
“It’s just we do need signings and they’re aware of that too. Everybody is aware of that. People behind the scenes are working hard to make that happen. We have three or four bids in at the moment for different clubs, different players, and we are waiting to see which ones will come to fruition.
“It is never easy to get players out of clubs, particularly when they don’t want to lose their better players. We have a few targets we are shooting at. I’m confident one or two will drop in to the net in the next week or two.”
Mowbray takes issue with the idea that Boro’s start to the season was disastrous, asserting that the team was “solid” and their performance acceptable. Again, the problem was a cutting edge.
He said: “We weren’t as good first half as people might have been thinking and I don’t think we were as bad as what people might have been thinking in the second half.
“Goals change people’s perceptions. When you look back on the whole 90 minutes, we had good spells in both halves.
“Leicester had a sustained spell where they pushed us back when I was trying to make a change at the time they scored.
“They were not cutting us open until the last five or ten minutes when we were 2-1 down and chasing it.
“There was nothing particularly wrong with the team, we looked a threat and we were pretty solid.
“They just got the lift from the first goal and we could have defended the second better. We just have to keep going. Let’s play these two games this week and see if we can win the next two games and keep going.”
League Two Accrington made a poor start to the campaign, but former England striker James Beattie is ambitious and Mowbray is wary.
He said: “Last year we did OK in this competition. We managed to find a formula to win so let’s hope we can do that again.
“Last year it might have helped we were away. They will come to us and try to make life very difficult for us. They will be hurting from their defeat at Newport, losing 4-1 to the newly pronmoted team. They will be looking for the reaction.
“We have to make sure our quality gives them lots of problems. They will be very honest, hard-working, fully-committed. We will see.”