MIDDLESBROUGH are close to completing the loan signing of George Saville, with Tony Pulis admitting the next three days could see plenty of transfer activity on Teesside.

Boro booked their place in the third round of the Carabao Cup last night as goals from Marvin Johnson and Jordan Hugill secured a 2-1 win over Rochdale at the Riverside.

Pulis is also hoping to make progress off the pitch ahead of Friday’s deadline for Football League loan deals, with Saville set to be the first player through the door.

Boro tried to sign the Millwall midfielder on a permanent basis at the start of the month, along with his team-mate Jed Wallace, only for the board at The New Den to reject a series of offers.

However, the Riverside hierarchy successfully resurrected discussions last weekend, and Saville is set to sign a loan deal that will contain a clause enabling Boro to buy the 25-year-old on a permanent basis next summer.

The deal will not go through until Millwall have secured a replacement, but Boro’s Championship rivals are understood to have made significant progress on that score in the last 24 hours, and a deal should be confirmed well ahead of Friday’s 5pm deadline.

Saville, who is an ex-Chelsea youth player, joined Millwall in a £350,000 transfer at the start of last season, and made his international debut for Northern Ireland at the end of last year. He missed Millwall’s defeat to Rotherham on Sunday, having suffered concussion against Sheffield Wednesday four days earlier.

If Pulis gets his way, he will not be the only player coming through the entrance doors this week, with the Boro boss still determined to sign at least one new winger. However, one of his targets, Rajiv van la Parra, has been deemed off limits, with Huddersfield boss David Wagner adamant the Dutch wide man will not be leaving the John Smith’s Stadium.

There could be some significant departures from Teesside, although Pulis will only allow players to leave if he has already signed off incoming deals of his own.

Spanish sides Girona and Leganes have expressed an interest in Martin Braithwaite, who is the highest-paid player on Boro’s books by a considerable margin, and despite his explosive start to the Championship season, there is still a chance the Denmark international could leave this week.

Sheffield United have lodged a formal offer for Marvin Johnson, and while the versatile left-footer scored Boro’s first goal last night, he could also be deemed surplus to requirements in the next few days.

When asked whether he anticipated a busy few days in the immediate aftermath of last night’s win, Pulis said: “Yes. That’s why I don’t want to continue to talk, I want to get away. I’m hoping the next couple of days will be busy – in and out.”

Having named a shadow side for Boro’s first-round win over Notts County, Pulis once again rested a number of his senior players for last night’s game.

There were ten changes from the team that started last week’s win over West Brom – Daniel Ayala was the only player to keep his place, and even he was withdrawn at half-time – and Pulis handed a second-half debut to teenage midfielder Billal Brahimi as well as starting with Enes Mahmutovic and Nathan Wood.

“It’s good experience for the young lads, and especially for the back four that played tonight,” said the Boro boss. “They were up against physically-strong players, and they’re (Rochdale) a good side.

“We played them in a pre-season game, and they move the ball around well. Keith’s (Hill) done a smashing job there.

“They’ve got a team of men playing. People ask me why I want kids to go out and play football – they’ll get more out of that game tonight than from any academy game. In academy football, you just don’t get that pressure put on you and the physicality of a game like that. You need a strength of character to be able to deal with that physicality, and play your position under all circumstances.”

It was an especially significant night for Hugill, who scored his first Middlesbrough goal, having joined his hometown club in a loan move from West Ham United earlier this summer.

“He did smashing, and we’re pleased he scored,” said Pulis. “To score so early when you’re back just takes the monkey off your back.

“He’s from this area, so he doesn’t have to worry about the crowd. I think the crowd will always be behind him.”