MIDDLESBROUGH could step up their search for free agents over the international break with a number of first-team players set for a spell on the sidelines. 

Dael Fry limped off in the closing stages of Boro's defeat to Hull City with Neil Warnock admitting that his prospects of being available for the next game in a fortnight's time didn't look good. 

Meanwhile, Grant Hall pulled up in training with a thigh injury and wasn't involved at the MKM Stadium. Lee Peliter will certainly miss the game against Peterborough United through suspension after he picked up his fifth booking of the season. 

While Boro are desperate for defensive reinforcements, the Boro boss admits it might not be a straight forward case of throwing them straight into the first-team picture if free agents have been without a club for some time. 

“We are looking at players who are out of contract and haven’t got fixed up but the problem with that is are they going to be fit enough to come in and start from day one? It’s catch 22 really.

“I’m not sure what we’ll come up with but we’ll have to come up with something in the two weeks we’ve got. It’s not easy to see any of the injured lads being fit for Peterborough so we’ll just have to wait and see what that leaves us.

“Then we’ve got lads going away with internationals so if Paddy (McNair) gets injured then we are cream crackered.

“You’ve just got to do the best with what you got, train hard next week and hope that them lads come back fully fit before the Peterborough game."

Young left-back Williams Kokolo was Boro's only defensive substitute in their defeat to Hull City, a clear indication of just how short they are. 

Howeve, the Boro manager was resistant to throw the 21-year-old into the mix because of their search for a free agent. 

Warnock explained: “We’ve got to be careful with the subs.

The Northern Echo:

“We’ve got two spaces in the squad so if we put someone that is over 21, that takes a space up. So there still might be free transfer what they are looking at. Kieran (Scott) is looking at whether we can bring one or two in.

“We’ll try and do that but it’s not easy. I don’t want to fill them up just for the sake of it when I wouldn’t have put anyone on as a sixth or seventh sub.

“Kololo was always coming with us but then we lost another one. We lost Grant (Hall) late on and so we made the decision.

“It wasn’t making a point or anything. I just think we didn’t want to waste another over 21 in case we need those two positions.

Naturally, Warnock has said in recent weeks that his position of priority in their search for a free agent is a left-sided player. Boro currently only have Marc Bola who can play as a left-back and he's been suffering with injury problems this season. 

Boro were recently linked with a move for former Burnley winger Robbie Brady who was released by the Clarets in the summer after four years at the club. The Republic of Ireland international can also play at left-back. 

When asked about the winger in last week's press conference, the Boro boss said: “Robbie Brady is a good left-sided player. Tremendous ability at Burnley.

“I was surprised when he got released. I think he got offered a contract there. I’m not sure his agents got it right for him to be honest because it’s a good club Burnley.

“We are looking for that side, that type of player who’s out of contract but you’ve got to be so careful now because players who are out of contract won’t have been involved in high intensity training. There’ll be training on there own.

“It’s alright looking but unless the right one comes along, we’ll have to muck on with what we’ve got.”