MIDDLESBROUGH boss Steve McClaren is aiming to revive his move for Leicester's Muzzy Izzet at the end of the season.

The Turkey midfielder turned down a "fantastic offer'' from Boro - believed to be £30,000-a-week - after talks over a proposed £6m transfer.

Celtic, managed by former Foxes boss Martin O'Neill, are understood to be in the hunt for 27-year-old Izzet.

But McClaren, who at the weekend said the Izzet deal was "dead in the water'', yesterday maintained it hadn't sunk without trace.

"He's someone I've always admired,'' said McClaren. "He's decided to stay with Leicester and bide his time.

"But that doesn't mean we won't be keeping tabs on him and that the deal is dead. Who knows what might happen in the summer?

"He's still on the transfer list, so he should be available. We had a good chat and got on well.

"But I can understand his thinking. He's fighting against relegation with Leicester and he possibly wants to have a look at things in the summer and re-evaluate his future.''

Izzet is the latest player to reject Boro, following the collapse of moves for strikers Diego Forlan and Dwight Yorke.

But McClaren insisted: "When you go for top-quality players, you're going to have problems and, unfortunately, we've failed to get these three, but the search goes on.

"There are factors in these things - where we are on the map and our League position play a part.

"But the main thing is that the players we have already brought here have been impressed by the club, the facilities and what we have to offer, and Muzzy was the same.''

Boro striker Alen Boksic is set to start his first game for almost two months when Fulham visit the Riverside tonight for a fixture re-arranged from December.

The Croatian last started in the 3-0 Boxing Day debacle at Newcastle and has since been restricted to just three substitute appearances, the latest in Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round victory over Blackburn.

A combination of recurrent bouts of flu and a calf injury have kept Boksic out of the starting line-up.

But McClaren confirmed: "There's a very good chance of him starting this time. If he hadn't had flu last week, he would have started on Saturday.

"He needs to play because he wants to play in the World Cup. I speak to him every day and he enjoys his football here. He says he's at peace in his mind here.

"He's got renewed vigour about him and he wants to do well, not just for himself, but for the team.

"It's nearly two months since he started a game and we've missed him. Noel Whelan has done well and scored goals, so we've got more of a threat now, especially with Benito Carbone joining us.

"That's why I wanted to bring in a player of Izzet's ilk - an attacking midfielder who can score goals.''

Fulham are the only side to beat relegation-threatened Boro in their last ten outings in all competitions.

Jean Tigana's men won 2-1 at Craven Cottage in January, but McClaren said: "We gave them a tough game and we're hoping to give them another one. Outside the top six, they're one of the best sides in the Premiership.

"This is our game in hand and we want to make the most of it.''

McClaren, meanwhile, revealed he is talking to skipper Paul Ince and keeper Mark Crossley about new contracts.

Crossley was axed for the Blackburn game in favour of fit-again Mark Schwarzer, after an impressive three-and-a-half-month stint while the Aussie was away on international duty before undergoing a hernia operation.

McClaren admitted: "It was possibly one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.

"But Mark Crossley has accepted it and his reaction has been tremendous. He's out on the training ground working extra hard. We're still talking about a new contract.''

Ince was due to open talks over a new deal at Christmas, but McClaren insisted: "There are talks behind the scenes and we'll reach a decision, ourselves and the player, when we're good and ready.''

Defender Colin Cooper returned to training yesterday after three weeks' compassionate leave following the tragic death of his two-year-old son.

"It's great to see Colin back,'' said McClaren.

"Although our thoughts are always with him and his family, it's good to see he has decided to come back and get on with the rest of his life.''

Read more about Middlesbrough FC here.