Striker Alun Armstrong yesterday revealed he only agreed an £800,000 move to Ipswich last week because he believed there was no future for him at Middlesbrough.

The 25-year-old Geordie was reluctant to quit the Riverside but claimed he was forced into making a career decision after being frozen out of first-team plans this season.

He said: "I'd had two serious injuries and I was fit, but not quite fit enough when I recovered in the past. It was a struggle but this season I felt good, I was fit and playing well in the reserves.

"But I just wasn't getting a chance even though the other strikers were not scoring. I don't know why, you'd have to ask the manager. I would have been happy fighting for my place if I was getting somewhere but it wasn't happening."

Armstrong, who is married with three children, added: "It was a massive decision for me and my wife to move to East Anglia. I didn't want to leave but I had to for football reasons.

"And the atmosphere is good at Ipswich, the place is buzzing."

Meanwhile, teenager Carlos Marinelli was tipped to step on to the Premiership stage at Boro.

Reserve team coach David Geddis believes the Argentinian ball player is ready to claim a first-team place.

Marinelli, dubbed 'the new Maradona' in Argentina, was left out recently because of depression following a red card but has since bounced back with a two-goal show and an impressive performance in the reserves.

The 18-year-old, upset after being sent off against Bradford, was omitted against West Ham and is currently serving a suspension.

"When it happened Carlos was at his most pleasing point, and his happiest, since he got here," said Geddis. "The time is just coming right for him. He has outstanding ability and I rate him highly, though he still has to work on the defensive part of his game."

Terry Venables yesterday insisted he will be spending all his time on Teesside over the next six months as he attempts to guide Boro away from the foot of the Premiership table.

The former England coach denied reports he had flown straight back to London after last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland, declining to appear at the post-match press conference. "I did not leave the North-East, I spent the whole time looking for a house in the area," he said.

"Bryan Robson told me he wanted to take the press conference because he had picked the team and he felt it only right he should answer the questions.''

"I was happy with this and did not fly off anywhere afterwards. While I'm here there may be one or two occasions when I do need to return to London but they will be brief trips."

Boro's youth team last night lost 3-1 in the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup at Arsenal