JONATHAN WOODGATE is ready to throw new signings Patrick Roberts and Lukas Nmecha straight into the Middlesbrough squad for tomorrow’s FA Cup third-round game with Tottenham – but insists the duo’s arrival should not be interpreted as paving the way for Britt Assombalonga’s departure.

Nmecha became the second Manchester City youngster to join Boro in the space of 24 hours when he cut short a previous spell at German club Wolfsburg in order to sign a season-long loan with the Teessiders yesterday.

The 21-year-old forward joins his City team-mate Roberts in the Boro squad, and having trained with the rest of Woodgate’s first-team group yesterday, the pair are likely to be involved in some capacity when Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham visit the Riverside tomorrow afternoon.

Their arrival enhances Woodgate’s attacking options, and has been viewed in some quarters as evidence that Assombalonga is being ushered towards the exit door. However, while Boro’s record signing remains unavailable with an ankle injury, his manager is adamant he remains an integral part of his future plans.

“When Britt is fit, he is 100 per cent part of my plans,” said Woodgate, who also denied suggestions West Ham had made an unsuccessful bid for Darren Randolph. “Britt went to see a specialist (on Thursday) on his ankle, he may be out for ten days to two weeks’ time.

“Britt hasn’t been pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes, so believe me on that one. He’s actually tried to train five times and struggled with it. It’s good to have four strikers, look at all the top teams.”

Assombalonga has not featured since last month’s win over Charlton, and his absence has exposed a lack of attacking depth that should be at least partially addressed by the acquisition of Nmecha, who can play as a central striker or number ten, and Roberts, who is a right winger who can also play up front.

Roberts spent the first half of the season on loan at Norwich City, while Nmecha has been playing in Germany with Wolfsburg, but neither player was able to hold down a first-team place. However, they have impressed in British football before – Roberts with Celtic and Nmecha at Preston – and Woodgate is confident they will make a major impact on Teesside.

“I’m really pleased to get them both in,” said the Boro boss. “Lukas and Patrick will be really good players for the football club, and it’s great to get the business done early, which is something we wanted to do. We wanted to get the full games in in January with them, I didn’t see the point in getting them in towards the end of the month. Get them in now, get them settled, and get some games under their belt, then they can kick on.

“They’re two extremely talented footballers. Okay, it hasn’t worked out for Patrick at Norwich or Lukas at Wolfsburg, but they’re in the Premier League and Bundesliga. They weren’t getting enough game time, so I spoke to Man City and went to see the two players face-to-face, and I thought it was a good decision for the football club.”

While Roberts and Nmecha could be involved on tomorrow, Daniel Ayala will miss out after injuring his ankle in the New Year’s Day win at Preston.

“Hopefully we’ll know more about Dani in the next 72 hours, but he definitely won’t play this weekend,” said Woodgate.

“Obviously, it was a blow for him to go off and I was gutted when he got injured because I know how important he is to us. At the minute, we haven’t got many numbers in that area.”