MIDDLESBROUGH manager Chris Wilder gave little away regarding the future of his striker Uche Ikpeazu after he scored in their FA Cup win over Mansfield yesterday.

The big striker gave them the lead on four minutes with a wonderful curling effort into the top right corner. It was his first goal for the club since August and his first start under the current Boro boss. The striker also put his finger in his ear as part of his celebration when he was running passed the Boro dugout.

Speculation has been rife regarding his future as Wilder begins to make big changes to his squad with Millwall and his former team Wycombe Wanderers being linked with a move. The arrival of Brighton and Hove Albion striker Aaron Connolly has also weakened his case for a place in the starting line-up.

The Boro boss said after the win at Field Mill: “I’ve got my ideas and my own thought process of how the group will look at the end of the month. But there is no downside in terms of playing well and scoring a goal as a centre-forward and for me, there’s no downside in us winning the game of football.

“There is something you can take and we’ve taken a result and individuals have taken certain things from the game and I think big Uche is possibly one of those.”

While Ikpeazu’s contribution proved to be useful for Boro yesterday, he has been limited to just substitute appearances in the Championship under Wilder with the manager failing to explicitly say whether he wants the 26-year-old to stay beyond January.

Ikpeazu signed in the summer for an undisclosed fee from League One Wycombe Wanderers and has gone on to score three goals in 22 appearances.

While Ikpeazu is an option for Wilder in the forward areas that seems to be on his way out, the Boro boss is still short of options in the attacking areas. 

Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun is on his way after agreeing terms on a loan move until the end of the season while Aaron Connolly is set to feature in next week's Championship tie against Reading after missing the game due his registration not being completed in time for yesterday's cup win.