CHRIS Wilder is expecting to complete ‘one or two’ deals before their FA Cup third round tie against Mansfield once the January transfer window officially opens.

Middlesbrough have been working hard ahead of time with Wilder, Head of Recruitment Kieran Scott and Chief Executive Neil Basuor putting in the legwork to get deals done quickly.

Boro have a trip to Sheffield United pencilled in on New Years Day but Wilder reckons there could be some new faces through the door at Rockliffe before his first cup game in charge of the club.

Reports have emerged from the Daily Mail detailing Brighton and Hove Albion forward Aaron Connolly is close to joining the club. The 21-year-old has scored five goals in 24 starts for the Seagulls since coming through their academy but is out of favour featuring just eight times this season. 

Asked by the Northern Echo whether he expects some new signings before the Mansfield game, Wilder said: “Yeah I am. I would like to.

“There is a specific number that I’m looking to bring in, there is a specific number I’m looking to balance going out as well so it might be a bit of a juggling act really.

“I don’t think we will get them all done before the Mansfield game but I’m really optimistic that we can get one or two in before that, which will be good.

“Obviously the Mansfield game is important and off the back of that is the next home game which is Reading on the 15th January. Fingers crossed we could have moved it on from there.

“Hopefully from next week, because it’s important that we integrate them in pretty early and quickly to be part of what we are trying to do.”

The Boro boss has always stated since he came to the club that they would look to get deals done ahead of time. It appears that the fruits of their labour will be there to see as he revealed that a number of incomings and outgoings are almost across the finish line.

“We are close to a couple, and close to a couple going out as well” added Wilder.

“That’s important that we do our sums as well because of the times that we’re in. Smart deals are important, and I keep saying that word. Some players will have to move on.

“But we want to bring players in and we’re doing that as we speak.

“It’s not the quickest of markets, but we’re working, I should imagine, as hard as any team in this division to make things happen.”


Even though the Boro boss has been quite adamant that the team needs strengthening, he appears to be getting the best out of his current crop of players.

They’ve won three games in a row along with just one defeat in seven under Wilder as part of a run of form that’s seen them climb into the Championship play-offs.

Despite an upturn in fortunes, that hasn’t changed his plans for next month and the club need to continue to be smart about their business next month.

“Nothing changes really” Wilder said.

“We have talked about being smart. I think it’s the situation in the Championship in terms of financial fair play as well where we can just go hell for leather and really open up.

“It’s got to be smart. There is going to be departures as well which we’ve talked about as well as incomings hopefully but there are certain areas that we feel we need to make sure that we get right.

“As we speak, we’re working extremely hard to hopefully get those players set up early to come in January.

“It won’t be the quickest of markets. It’s not the easiest of periods to do deals but there is enough experience in that department through myself, Kieran (Scott) and Neil (Bausor) to hopefully get the deals done.

“This club is an attractive club to come to as a player and I keep in mind that the players are at a really good club.

“I’ve been around the block. I know a lot about football and clubs, what are good and what are maybe not so good. This is a proper football club.

“It’s an attractive club and hopefully going forward it will be and we can attract some good players because good players want to see good players come in as well and the group certainly need a little bit of help in certain areas and everybody understands that and we are doing our best to make sure that happens.”