MIDDLESBROUGH manager Chris Wilder has liked what he’s seen from his two outfield acquisitions Darragh Lenihan and Ryan Giles so far after the pair joined the club this summer.

The pair featured in last weekend’s friendly win over Bishop Auckland, their first outing in a Boro shirt since Lenihan joined on a free from Blackburn Rovers and Giles on loan from Wolves respectively.

“They’ve been spot on. We understand the level that we’re playing against today, but it was pleasing that we had a lot of the ball and when we had to defend we defended” said the Boro boss immediately after the game at Heritage Park.

Both players are set to play a prominent role this season with Lenihan competing for a place in Boro’s three-man defence with Dael Fry, Anfernee Dijksteel and Paddy McNair while Ryan Giles is set to take a place at left-wing back. Goalkeeper Liam Roberts, who is the club’s only other addition this summer, is set to battle it out for a place between the sticks with whoever the club add to their ranks. Manchester City’s Zak Steffen is reportedly in talks with a move to Teesside for next season.

Wilder is continuing to implement wholesale changes to his squad for the new season but has hit a bit of a stumbling block in his search for a striker recently. David McGoldrick decided against a move to Teesside in favour of Derby County while Watford are leading the chase for target Dwight Gayle, who is set to leave Newcastle United in the summer.

Nevertheless, Lenihan and Giles’ early impact on the squad has been there for all to see with the pair in pre-season training over the last few weeks. He said: “I think you saw the quality Darragh brings to the group. I think he impressed but I don’t need to be hugely impressed because I know what I was signing and what I was getting with bringing him to the football club.

“It’s the same with Ryan. They’ve both fitted in seamlessly and both have excellent personalities. They’re both good characters and are very good players too. I think Gilo showed two or three times what he’s about as he put two or three good crosses in. They’ll get better and grow from here. Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of players to be brought in. We keep working away, but we’re delighted to have brought those two in.”

Lenihan was Rovers captain under former Boro boss Tony Mowbray last season and comes to Teesside with plenty of Championship pedigree having played over 150 games in the second tier. He also has three Republic of Ireland caps to his name at the age of 28.

Giles has earned himself a strong early reputation as a 22-year-old impressing during two loan spells with Cardiff City and alongside the Irishman Lenihan at Blackburn last season. While there were plenty of Championship clubs vying for his signature this summer, he is yet to make a Premier League appearance for his parent club Wolves. Bruno Large deemed him surplus to requirements for the new season allowing Boro to act early to lure him to Teesside.

While Boro continue to work behind the scenes to bring new players, a goalkeeper and three forwards, into the squad, the exit door will continue to swing open with Hayden Coulson, Uche Ikpeazu and Chuba Akpom all being told they can leave before the end of the transfer window.

Reports suggest Ikpeazu is a potential target for newly promoted Rotherham United while activity for Coulson and Akpom has been muted so far.

Djed Spence’s long running saga involving his move to Tottenham is potentially nearing it’s conclusion with both clubs thrashing out the terms of the deal over the last few weeks. Boro continue to hold out on their £20 million valuation for the 21-year-old who achieved promotion to the Premier League during a loan spell with Nottingham Forest last season. It’s understood that an up front fee received for Spence will be used to invest in the squad for the rest of the transfer window.