MIDDLESBROUGH head coach Aitor Karanka insists he will only sign players who are 100 per cent committed to the club as negotiations continue with Huddersfield Town’s Adam Clayton.
The Teessiders, who travel to Oldham Athletic in the Capital One Cup first round tonight, had hoped to tie up a deal for Clayton before Saturday’s opening day win over Birmingham City after agreeing a £1.5m deal that would see Jacob Butterfield move in the opposite direction.
However, interest from Brighton appeared to have put a spanner in the works over the weekend with Clayton keen to assess all options before making a decision on his future.
Discussions between the Middlesbrough and Clayton’s representatives are on-going, but Karanka revealed every player must prove they are 100 per cent committed to the club before signing.
“We are in negotiations, but I’m not in a position to say at the moment what will happen,” said Karanka, who is expected to welcome Jonathan Woodgate back from injury tonight.
“We will start to speak to other players if we know that he has said no, but at the moment we are speaking to him.
“We prefer to be 100 per cent sure with the players we bring here and to make sure the players that are coming here are because they want to.”
Boro are close to confirming the arrival of Abella and the Spanish right-back could travel with the squad to Oldham.
The 32-year-old has already trained with his new team-mates, although it is unclear whether he will play any part at Boundary Park.
The Teessiders head to the North West on the back of an impressive performance against Birmingham in the Championship, which saw goals from Daniel Ayala and Kike earn a 2-0 win.
The mood inside the Boro camp is high following their display at the Riverside, but Karanka has warned his players not the rest of their laurels.
The Boro boss revealed he will make several changes to his line-up against the League One outfit, but insists he will pick a team capable of progressing through to the next round.
He said: “I think it is important to keep the players’ feet on the ground, because we have only won one game.
“For me it’s just as important as the league. We go to Oldham to win the game. We will make some changes because we have six games in 22 days and we are only at the beginning of the season so I don’t want to take risks with injuries.
“I will put the best 11 which I feel can get a result for us. We have to respect the competition and our history in it and I always want to win the games.
“I don’t know how many changes I will make. I have to wait and see. The players are very tired and we have another game on Saturday, but I will put the best players on the pitch.
“It will be a difficult game and more so when you come into it after a great victory on Saturday.
“You think you are a great team and you are excited about the season and you can go onto the pitch thinking you are an amazing team, but I have told the players that the biggest mistake is when you believe you are a better team than you are.
“We have to be humble and know who we are every day and we go to Oldham with the same mentality.”
One player that won’t feature tonight is Kei Kamara. The striker missed the final few games of pre-season after being called up for international duty with Sierra Leone, but has since returned.
Earlier in the summer Kamara took to his Twitter page to complain about the lack of support Boro showed when he was struck down with malaria, which drew criticism from supporters.
The former Norwich City forward has fallen down the pecking order at the Riverside following the arrival of Kike and he appeared to wind up supporters on the social networking site again on Sunday. Boro declined to comment on the striker’s latest outburst.
Likely Boro line-up: Konstantopoulos Hines Ayala Woodgate Husband Smallwood Whitehead Nsue L Williams Reach Kike