JONATHAN WOODGATE has described how his Middlesbrough squad is still comfortably short in numbers despite the arrivals of Marcus Browne and Marc Bola within the last 72 hours.

Both Browne and Bola, after completing moves from West Ham and Blackpool respectively, have given the Boro head coach a welcome lift with Friday night’s season opener in the Championship approaching at Luton Town.

The pair made their first appearances in a Middlesbrough shirt in the final friendly of pre-season at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday, when Lewis Wing’s second half free-kick claimed a draw against French club St Etienne.

Those are Middlesbrough’s only outfield recruits since the end of last season and Woodgate knows his squad lacks first team experience, with the bench against St Etienne full of academy graduates. His starting line-up also included Hayden Coulson, who looks set to figure quite prominently after impressing over the course of the summer.

He said: “I am not going to put a number on how many players I want. I know exactly what I want, I know exactly what I need. Neil (Bausor) and Adrian (Bevington) know exactly what we want and in what areas. They will be working hard. All the areas are important to me at the minute.”

Woodgate was in no mood to reveal the identity of those he is targeting, but is convinced more signings are on the horizon. Portsmouth winger Jamal Lowe and Liverpool’s forward Ryan Kent are two of those to have been mentioned regularly, while he still could do with an extra centre-back option.

"Everywhere is important, everywhere is important,” he said. “I rely on my recruitment team. I value their opinions for starters and we all look at players and then it boils if we can get them.

"We all look at them but it has to be the right deal for the football club, I don’t want players coming here and earning ridiculous amounts of money.

“Hopefully there will be more. Definitely before transfer deadline day.”

Both Browne and Bola impressed against St Etienne, with the former playing the first hour and the latter introduced as a half-time substitute.

Woodgate said: "They have a desire to come and play, they both could go as far as they want to go. It’s up to me, Leo Percovich, Robbie Keane and Danny Coyne to push them even further, especially with Marcus Browne, he brings excitement and will bring a crowd on their feet. He wants to improve, he’s bringing his family up from London which is a great thing.

“As for Marc Bola, I heard great reports from him. I watched him years ago when he played Arsenal Under-19s in the UEFA league so I always kept an eye on him. I heard a lot about him when he was at Notts County, Blackpool under Simon Grayson, I know him inside out."

It was Wing who emerged from the bench to ensure Middlesbrough’s new recruits didn’t start life at the Riverside in defeat.

It required a stunning free-kick from Wing, a product of the northern league scene, to level matters with 21 minutes ago after Denis Bouanga had converted a debatable penalty to give St Etienne the lead two minutes earlier.

There was plenty of promising play from Middlesbrough against a French team that finished fourth in Ligue 1 last season, just behind the division’s big guns, to provide Woodgate with food for thought ahead of the opener at Luton.

Amongst that positivity was Browne’s endeavour down the left flank on his first appearance since joining from West Ham, having spent last season on loan at Oxford United. He also went close with an early free-kick he won himself when he curled a yard over from 20 yards, shortly before an effort from similar distance when Britt Assombalonga’s strike had to be tipped over for a corner by goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier.

Young full-back Hayden Coulson was always dangerous when he adventured forward and he has given Woodgate plenty to think about ahead of Friday’s opening game at Luton.

The visitors, who will play Newcastle next weekend, took the lead. Ryan Shotton was adjudged to have brought down substitute Lois Diony, seconds after he was introduced, even though it looked more of a tangle on the edge of the box. The dangerous Bouanga did the rest.

While the Middlesbrough bench remonstrated, the players attacked and won their own soft free-kick on the edge of the St Etienne box. Wing, another substitute, struck hard and low inside Ruffier’s bottom right corner.

Now the focus is on Friday and Woodgate has revealed only Darrenn Randolph of the injured players has a chance to play.

“If Darren is available for Luton then great, if not then there’s no problem because we will put in Tommy Mejias or Aynsley Pears. Darren should be fit but if he isn’t then I have no problem with fielding either of them. Darren is the best goalkeeper in the league by a mile, I have confidence in all of them though.

“George Friend is getting back to fitness. He could be pushing for Brentford (August 10) but struggling for Luton. Dael Fry will be a couple more weeks, I have been there before myself and I don’t want to rush him with a muscle injury.”

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-3-2-1): Mejias (Pears 46), Howson, Ayala, Shotton, Coulson (McNair 60); Clayton, Tavernier, Saville; Johnson (Bola 46), Browne (Wing 60); Assombalonga (Spence 77). Subs (not used): Stubbs, Wood, Reading, Fletcher, Wearne, Malley.