TONY PULIS admits Middlesbrough’s attacking deficiencies are the major handicap they will have to overcome if they are to secure a place in the Premier League in the final three months of the season.

Boro head to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday looking to cement their place in a play-off position, having slipped up on Wednesday when they crashed to a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

Pulis’ side struggled to create chances at Bramall Lane, and a failure to trouble the opposition goalkeeper has been a theme that has been apparent for the majority of the season.

The Northern Echo:

Boro have scored fewer Championship goals than any other side in the top 15 positions in the table, with Pulis pointing to an inability to recruit attacking players in either of the last two transfer windows as an explanation for their lack of goalscoring success.

The Boro boss said: “It’s a good group. It’s a very committed group and they give it their best, but maybe they just lack a bit of icing on the cake.

“Ever since I came into the club, we’ve needed more goals. Last year, we scored a lot of goals at home and it was because we had someone out wide (Adama Traore) who could take a team out of the game. We’ve certainly not replaced that. But we’ve got to get on with it.”

Pulis insists creating chances has not been the key issue this season – instead, the Middlesbrough manager has found himself constantly bemoaning an inability to convert the opportunities that have come his side’s way.

He said: “We have created chances. We’ve looked at all different things, we’ve created chances from set-pieces and haven’t scored as many as we should have. Flinty (Aden Flint) has had fantastic opportunities, the one against Leeds you’d bet your life on him scoring that.

“George (Friend) should have scored on Wednesday night. With a bit more composure he could have picked his corner.

“We’re very structured as a team, it’s just the icing on the cake (we’re lacking). But we went to West Brom and scored three goals.

“The whole ethos this season has been we have been strong and looked resilient. You go back to Leeds at home, the game should have been over at half-time. That’s been our Achilles heel. It hasn’t been because of a lack of effort or commitment, it’s been that we haven’t taken our fair share of chances.

“That’s been off set-pieces as well. We’ve had a poor return.”