MIDDLESBROUGH are still searching for another centre-forward despite completing the signing of Chuba Akpom.

Akpom signed a three-year deal on Saturday morning, with an option for a further year, after joining from Greek side PAOK Salonika for a fee of around £2.75m.

The 24-year-old was watching on at the Riverside as Boro drew with Bournemouth at the weekend, and will be available to make his debut in this Saturday’s game at QPR.

He should be match fit as he played for PAOK in a Champions League qualifier against Benfica last week, and will provide some much-needed competition for Ashley Fletcher, who hobbled off on Saturday after suffering a knock, and Britt Assombalonga.

Akpom boasts extensive experience of the Championship thanks to loan spells at Hull City and Brighton, but his arrival does not necessarily solve Boro’s attacking issues. The club still only have three recognized centre-forwards, a situation Neil Warnock and the rest of his coaching staff will attempt to address before the transfer window closes next month.

“We’re delighted to get Chuba over the line - and Fletcher coming off shows why,” said Kevin Blackwell, who is deputising for Warnock while the Boro boss isolates following a positive test for coronavirus. “We have an awful run coming up where we play Tuesday-Saturday for two months, so we’re going to need more quality in.

“We still need another striker. Chuba only gives us three, and if Fletch is injured then (Marcus) Browne is more of a ten than a striker, so we might need a bit more there.

“It’s a discussion for the gaffer and the club really, but everyone knows we need one or two more in because what you saw today was the entire playing squad at the football club. With just 18 players, we’re thin, and the club knows that.”

Blackwell was delighted to see 1,000 Boro fans in the Riverside at the weekend, and felt the atmosphere generated in the West Stand was a factor in his side’s successful second-half comeback.

“Please God everybody goes home safely and we can see things moving in the right direction,” he said. “Hopefully, next time we can have 2,000 fans in and they can see a performance as good as that.”