GARRY MONK thinks the make-up of Middlesbrough’s squad will undergo further change before the transfer window closes at the end of next month, with Stewart Downing’s future likely to be a hot topic and uncertain.

Monk was encouraged by how his team wrapped up pre-season preparations with a 2-1 victory over German outfit Augsburg at the Riverside on Saturday, when £9m man Martin Braithwaite’s opener was followed by a late winner from Adam Forshaw.

While the victory was secured with a host of new signings figuring, and a forward line boasting £15m Britt Assombalonga too, there was no sign of hometown winger Downing in the match-day squad.

The former England international saw a move to Birmingham fall through over a disagreement with Middlesbrough over the remaining two years he has on his existing deal, while Spanish club Girona remain firmly in the mix for his signature.

However, until an agreement can be reached over the remaining terms of his contract, Downing looks set to remain at Middlesbrough and Monk does not seem willing to consider him ahead of Saturday’s season opener with Wolves at Molineux.

Asked where Downing was on Saturday, Monk said: “It’s a situation with Stewy and some of the other guys. I’ve had conversations with all the players, and out of respect, those conversations should stay between us.

“We’re looking to recruit, but we’re also looking to move players out. That’s for the club, and for me to do. Let’s see what goes on in the next couple of weeks.”

Monk has made plenty of changes to the Middlesbrough squad already, having spent approaching £40m on new talent aimed at taking the club back to the Premier League at the first attempt. He is still in the market for a new defender, and he would like a winger with Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo still in his sights.

But the former Leeds boss is excited by what has been done so far after being backed by chairman Steve Gibson in his bid to get Middlesbrough off to a flying start.

He said: “It’s important as a football club to get your buying and selling right. I spoke with the owners when I came here, sat with them, and there was a real determination to try to get this side of it right. I think it helps you for the long term.

“There’s been a big amount of goings, and still a bit more to do, and also quite a large amount of people coming in. I think the goings have outweighed the coming ins, but we sat down and spoke about it, and it’s good the club have done what they’ve done.

“We said there would be a lot of activity in this window, but that’s for the future too. When you go into the future, you’re not having to do too much. That’s the best way to work as a football club, a team and a manager.

“Credit to the owner and everyone involved, that process has been good so far. We’ve tried to balance it right with the comings and goings, and budget wise as well. We’ve tried to maximise what we can bring it, and balance it with what is going out.

“There’s been a lot of talk about what you spend, but people miss what you’re bringing in, and the fact it’s about the future of the club. In the future, that expenditure won’t be as much.”

Middlesbrough started with a three-pronged attack against Augsburg, with Assombalonga on the left and Patrick Bamford on the right. Braithwaite played through the middle, allowing Marten de Roon and Jonny Howson to play alongside Adam Clayton in midfield.

Middlesbrough might have won with the new system and personnel, but they had to come from behind having conceded early on when Augsburg full-back Konstantinos Stafylidis struck a superb low strike beyond £5m goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

Braithwaite levelled eight minutes before the break when he controlled a deep cross from Cyrus Christie with his chest before lashing home a powerful finish.

There were chances at both ends after that, although the winner arrived when a draw seemed certain in stoppage-time. Another new boy, Ashley Fletcher, laid on the winner for Forshaw after he was rewarded for his hard work in the final third.

Monk said: “The key to a good team is to be unselfish. Credit to Ashley, he showed persistence, and I thought the team was very persistent. We were playing against a very good side, a difficult side to play against with really good technical players and physically they can mix it as well.

“For me, it was a really good test to see where we’re at. I can see many positives, and I can see negatives as well. That’s good for us. In terms of the team, I think you saw a good attitude and that’s going to be very important.”

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-3-3): Randolph; Christie, Ayala, Gibson (Fry 86), Friend; de Roon (Leadbitter 85), Clayton, Howson (Forshaw 73); Bamford (Gestede 66), Assombalonga (Fletcher 60), Braithwaite (Ramirez 78). Subs (not used): Konstantopoulos (gk), Roberts, Fabio, Traore, Baptiste.

AUGSBURG (4-2-3-1): Luthe; Opare, Callsen-Bracker (Danso 46), Kacar, Stafylidis (Max 46); Moravek, Khedira; Ji, Heller, Cordova (Teigl 55); Bobadilla (Richter 81). Subs (not used): Giefer (gk), Koo, Framberger, Usami.