TONY PULIS has had talks with Steve Gibson this week at the club’s training ground to discuss what is needed to boost Middlesbrough’s attempts to seal a return to the Premier League this season.

Pulis, whose side have drawn the last three matches and failed to score in two, are in need of improving their attacking output in the Championship, even though they remain right in the thick of the battle for a top two spot.

Middlesbrough will face Wigan this afternoon at the Riverside knowing the only goal they have scored at home in the last four games was an own goal scored by Derby last month.

It is a situation that needs addressing if Middlesbrough are to finish in an automatic promotion spot, and Pulis is considering the transfer options ahead of the window opening on January 1.

It is no secret that Pulis tried to sign wingers Albert Adomah and Yannick Bolasie during the summer, while Crystal Palace’s Jason Puncheon was also on the radar.

Boro have already been credited with a fresh approach in the new year for Aston Villa’s Adomah, while Portsmouth’s striker Ronan Curtis has been mentioned in reports too.

“The window? Goodness knows, we’ve got targets, we’ve looked at options and what we would like to do and what we wouldn’t like to do,” said Pulis.

“Steve came in this week and he knows the score, he’s a football man, he watches us every week, he’s very diligent in what he does and what he doesn’t do and he understands what we’re trying to do and what I’m trying to do with this football club as well.”

He added: “Even when the window closed, a few months back, we were trying to get certain ones in we didn’t get in, those positions would have helped us. We have always recognised that but the thing is we have tried to get in the players who would have helped us and haven’t.”

Despite certain attacking issues holding Middlesbrough back, Pulis’ team have only lost twice and are just two points shy of top spot, so a victory over Wigan could see them hit the pinnacle again.

Pulis said: “We're in a really good position in the league, a really good position in the league cup, so we've got lots to play for before the window opens.”

With the exception of an injury to Ryan Shotton, Middlesbrough have a full squad to call on to face Wigan. Pulis knows his side have the best defensive record in the league and is keen for that to continue, while focusing on attacking improvements too.

“We had one or two knocks after the Stoke game, it’s all cleared up and every one is ready to go,” said Pulis “We are pleased with the effort and commitment the players have put in.

“We were pleased at Stoke after the basis of the game on the previous Wednesday in the Carabao Cup. Against a team with ten years in the Premier League (Stoke), with Premier League players still, we were disappointed in the end with the good chances we had.

“We have had a lot of opportunities to create chances this season, when we have created they have been really good chances and I think that is what we have to shine up on. We have to take those opportunities and chances and if we do that we will step up a level.”

Wigan have started life back in the second tier reasonably well this season, but Middlesbrough will know the Latics have only won one of their eight away dates so far and lost seven.

Middlesbrough know, though, they can’t take anything for granted, having recorded a goalless draw against Rotherham at the Riverside recently.

Pulis said: “We will respect Wigan, they have had some good results this season, I have great respect for the people there. I don’t know the manager there as well as some, but they are a very competitive side, well organised.  “There is not one team who are not physically strong in this league, not well coached and haven’t got the tools in their armour to win a game at this level. We have to recognise that.”

Middlesbrough will then head into a two-week break after the visit of Wigan and Pulis remains frustrated by the amount of games teams are expected to play at this level.

He said: “We have 11 players away again. They are all over Europe, that’s the point that kills you. You can look at it and think it is a good break but they are off on a plane, travelling as well. We have to cope with that.

“It’s something we have to live with, it’s not just Middlesbrough FC who have to cope with that. The Championship has more internationals playing now.  “What we have to be careful of is, I think we have played 20 games, 24 games if you include the international games, that’s 14 games away from a full season in the Premier League and we have only just got to November.  “That’s 20 competitive games, 16 championship games, and some of the lads have played four international games on top of that in just over three months.”

* There was the plantation of a tree at Rockliffe Park to remember the six Middlesbrough players who lost their lives in the first World War. Members of the club's Under-12s have worked on a diversity and inclusion project in memory of former professional and British Army officer Walter Tull, who lost his life during the war.

Pulis said: “I was fortunate a few years ago, went round the battles fields of the first World War.The way the empire fought for world peace was extraordinary. If you read about stories, it is heart breaking, what these young kids did for this country and world peace, so to commemorate what they did I don’t we should never ever, ever forget."