JONATHAN WOODGATE remains confident Middlesbrough will make the transfer breakthroughs they need in the next two-and-a-half weeks, but concedes he knows “miles more” about what is required in the wake of Saturday’s five-goal thumping in Germany.

Boro’s pre-season preparations took a turn for the worse as they were hammered 5-1 by German second tier outfit FC Heidenheim, conceding five goals in the final 25 minutes at the Voith Arena.

Woodgate split his squad between the game in Germany and an Under-23s match at Bishop Auckland – George Friend stepped up his recovery from injury with an appearance at Heritage Park, and was joined by fellow first-teamers Adam Clayton and Marvin Johnson – but the manner of Boro’s late collapse against Heidenheim was nevertheless alarming.

Goalkeeper Tomas Mejias remains the only senior player to have signed for Middlesbrough this summer, and the squad looks light on both numbers and experience following the departure of Aden Flint, John Obi Mikel, Mo Besic, Stewart Downing and Jordan Hugill since the end of last season.

Boro’s recruitment team have been working on a number of targets, and are set to step up their efforts this week, with a mixture of permanent signings and loan additions in the offing.

The clock is ticking, with the transfer window for Championship teams due to close on Thursday, August 8 – one day before Boro kick off the new season at Luton Town – but Woodgate is refusing to panic despite the lack of incoming activity so far.

“We need players in different areas of the pitch,” admitted Boro’s head coach. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what we need – but we will get those players.

“I’ve given everybody a chance now to really establish themselves. In these games you see a lot in the players – some things I don’t like, and some that I do, like character.

“Nobody likes getting beat, but it’s pre-season and we gave a few younger lads the opportunity towards the end of the game. The real test will be the start of the season.

“I’ll still take positives from it, and I’ve learned so much from that game. I’ve learned about players – we’ll look through it on Monday and go through it again. I know miles more now about what we need as a team.”

Martin Braithwaite was not involved in either of the weekend matches, but Woodgate insists there was nothing sinister about the Dane’s absence.

Braithwaite has been struggling with a sickness bug, and while there continues to be considerable speculation about his future, Woodgate claims the 28-year-old has expressed a willingness to remain on Teesside.

Braithwaite spent the second half of last season on loan at Leganes, but while the Spanish side would like to set up a similar arrangement this summer, the Boro hierarchy are adamant they will not allow the Denmark international to leave on another loan deal.

If Braithwaite is to leave this summer, it will be for a permanent transfer fee, and the Teessiders will be looking to at least recoup the £9m they spent to sign the forward from Toulouse two summers ago.

“He’s (Braithwaite) had a sickness and diarrhoea bug, which can’t be helped,” said Woodgate. “He’s still here, he’s still a valuable member (of the squad). There have been no bids that I’m aware of.

“I’ve told him I want him to stay. We pay Martin’s wages at the end of the day. He said to me he wants to be here, I can only take him at face value, but I’m not daft.”

In Braithwaite’s absence, Rudy Gestede and Ashley Fletcher started against Heidenheim, and the former was involved in the first-half attack that resulted in German defender Marnon Busch putting the ball through his own net.

Gestede had a headed effort ruled out for offside by VAR, before Heidenheim ran riot in the second half.

Robert Glatzel claimed a hat-trick, with Timo Beerman and Koija Pusch also finding the net as Boro conceded five goals in less than half-an-hour.

Things were more positive for the Under-23s at Bishop Auckland, with Boro’s youngsters running out 7-1 winners as coach Graeme Lee fielded a side that contained three trialists and a new signing.

Stevenage player Andron Georgiou started the game and scored, while Alex Storey, recently released by Sunderland, and Auxerre’s Iban Cossou linked up in the back four in the second half.

Sam Folarin, a recent signing from non-league Tooting and Mitcham, came off the bench at half-time and scored.

Middlesbrough (vs Hoffenheim): Mejias; Howson, Ayala (Wood 63), Shotton, Reading (Stephenson 80); McNair, Wing (Spence 79), Saville; Fletcher, Gestede (Jones 81), Tavernier.

Middlesbrough Under-23s (vs Bishop Auckland): Pears; Hood (Storey 46), Stubbs, Friend (Cossou 60), Coulson; Clayton, Malley, Liddle; Georgiou (Robinson 64), Johnson, Burrell (Folarin 46).