HAVING failed with a summer approach for Dael Fry, Burnley manager Sean Dyche is pondering a January attempt to sign another Middlesbrough defender in the shape of teenage centre-half Nathan Wood.

Dyche has been monitoring Wood closely, with Burnley understood to have sent a senior scouting delegation to watch the 17-year-old in action as England Under-18s claimed a 3-2 win over Australia on Friday night.

Burnley’s £8m bid for Fry was rejected earlier this summer, but rather than return to Teesside with another offer for the Under-21 international at the turn of the year, Dyche is set to turn his attention to Wood.

The youngster, who signed his first professional deal earlier this summer, is regarded as one of the brightest young defensive prospects in the country, with Jonathan Woodgate a long-term admirer or his talents.

Wood became the youngest first-team player in Middlesbrough’s history when he made his senior debut under Tony Pulis in last season’s Carabao Cup game with Notts County, and was handed another first-team start in this term’s League Cup defeat to Crewe Alexandra.

Woodgate’s faith in his abilities was underlined by the Boro head coach’s refusal to consider possible defensive additions as Ryan Shotton was being linked with a deadline-day move to Wigan Athletic. Had Shotton left the Riverside in August, Wood would have taken his place in the first-team squad.

The Boro boss will be keen to keep hold of the youngster in January, but Burnley could make it hard for the Teessiders to hold on the centre-half if they table an offer that is similar to the one that was rejected for Fry. While Fry is valued at a much higher figure than £8m, Wood is at a much more formative stage of his footballing development.

Meanwhile, former Boro boss Garry Monk is targeting a place in the Premier League after being appointed as the new manager of Sheffield Wednesday.

Almost two years after he was sacked in the immediate aftermath of a win at Hillsborough, Monk finds himself back at the home of the Owls, leading a club that currently sit three points clear of Boro in 11th position in the Championship table.

“I think when you look at it, at the start of every season, there are 15 of so teams where that’s (getting to the Premier League) the ambition,” said Monk. “You can’t get away from that.

“We know it’s a capable squad, but there are a lot of capable squads in this league. It’s about making sure we compete as high as we can and the quality comes through.”