NEIL WARNOCK will step up his search for new recruits over the weekend, despite his Middlesbrough side making a winning start to the season in the Carabao Cup.

Boro booked a place in tomorrow’s second-round draw as they edged out Shrewsbury Town in a seven-goal thriller at the Riverside.

Ashley Fletcher scored twice, with Marvin Johnson and Marcus Tavernier also finding the target, as the Teessiders won 4-3, and while his side’s defending might have left plenty to be desired on occasion, Warnock was nevertheless delighted with the quality of his side’s attacking display.

He nevertheless remains determined to add to his squad, with the acquisition of two new strikers and another centre-half a priority.

Ben Gibson will not be rejoining Boro as he signed a season-long loan at Norwich City last night, but Warnock still has a number of potential deals under consideration and remains determined to make progress ahead of Friday’s Championship opener at Watford.

“The strikers really put a shift in,” said Warnock, after Boro scored four goals in a game for the first time in more than a year-and-a-half. “Ashley deserved his two goals, and I thought he was the pick of the crop, but they share it out. Britt (Assombalonga) did a lot of work and together, they look good. But we are looking at other players to come in to help out because they can’t do that week in, week out.

“The squad that we had last night, that was it. That was all we have. We had the seven subs and didn’t have anyone else available, but all credit to the boys. We are trying to bring three or four players in, but the financial aspect at the minute is not easy. But that’s the case for everybody, not just Middlesbrough.”

With Rudy Gestede having departed as a free agent, Fletcher and Assombalonga are currently the only senior strikers on Boro’s books, but after his players struggled in the final third for most of last season, Warnock is confident the goals will flow more freely this term.

“We’ve got to score more goals,” he said. “I hate the thought of being the lowest scorers in the league – I like excitement, and I like crosses and shots and headers. We could even have had one or two more tonight, but scoring four is very, very good at such an early stage of the season.”

Things weren’t so good at the other end, and having conceded three goals to League One opposition, Warnock accepts his side will have to be much more solid when they travel to Vicarage Road on Friday night.

However, he did not want to be too critical of his players given that he had openly admitted he was treating the Carabao Cup match as his side’s final pre-season game.

“It was certainly open,” he said. “I said to the lads, it was the end of pre-season today. I’m not going to tell them off. I wanted them to get as much running in as they could, and we didn’t really work on shutting this down or shutting that down.

“We just said, ‘Let’s have a go’, and as has been the case in pre-season, we played some good stuff. Discipline wise, I don’t think we can play like that next week against Watford, they’ll get double figures. But we’ll be more disciplined next week.”

Gibson’s decision to join Norwich on loan ends Boro’s hopes of signing him themselves, and while the Teessider’s move to Carrow Road is currently only temporary, he will complete a permanent transfer if his temporary employers win promotion to the Premier League this season.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” said Gibson. “It’s been a long time coming, I’ve been desperate to play football for a couple of years now and it hasn’t materialised, so a fresh start is exactly what I need.

“An opportunity to come to an aspiring football club that has a clear ambition to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking – that’s what I’m here to be part of, to play football and get back enjoying it and get this club back to where it belongs.”