MIDDLESBROUGH's January transfer plans are already in place with the club "ready to go" when the window opens in the new year, says head of football Kieran Scott.

Scott says Boro immediately set about putting plans in place for January when the summer window closed, with the Championship promotion hopefuls looking to bolster their squad in "a couple of key positions".

One of the areas Boro will look to strengthen is up-front but there's a delicate balance to be struck, with the club reluctant to slow the progress of homegrown frontman Josh Coburn, who is currently first choice striker.

Scott says Boro "are not going to put anyone in Coburn's way".

Boro will also consider looking to add a defender in January after Darragh Lenihan was this week ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.

Boro had a hugely successful January window earlier this year when they signed Dan Barlaser on a permanent deal as well as Cameron Archer and Aaron Ramsey on loan from Aston Villa. Boro have since changed strategy and don't want too many loan players on their books, but in what Scott admits is a "tough" window, that doesn't mean they won't ignore that market all together.

Speaking as a special guest on BBC Tees on Tuesday night, Scott said: "It's not always simple, but if you do it right, there are players to be had in January.

"We set the mark high last January. It was a good window. We've got to keep going now though, we've got to go one better! We will be trying to strengthen in January and, barring any disagreements in the next couple of days or so, we're ready to go. We're ready to sanction our plans for January.

"We were on it straight away. We didn't land everything we wanted in the summer. We tried, but there was too much to do in the timeframe. So we were working straight away, as soon as the summer window closed, on January and considering a couple of key positions we feel we need to help.

"We've started on that and we're effectively good to go."

Asked whether Boro will be targeting a striker, Scott said: "A striker is a position you're always looking to strengthen. I don't want to be disrespectful to Josh and Emmanuel (Latte Lath), who have done a really good job for us. Josh is only a young boy, he's done great for us, we think the world of him, he's one of our own and we want to see him develop, so we're not going to put anyone in his way. That's not how we work.

"We want to protect Josh but we also have a season to do our best for. So we will be looking but it has to be the right player."


With Lenihan needing surgery this week and now facing the rest of the season on the sidelines, Boro could also look to strengthen their backline in January to ensure Michael Carrick isn't left short in the second half of the campaign.

Scott said: "It's never good to lose one of your senior boys. it's unfortunate.

"We wish Darragh well but Paddy has been playing and doing really well. I'm not saying we won't miss Darragh, course we will.

"It maybe focuses our mind in January, we might have to look to fill that spot and help the squad and Darragh will be back for next season. Injuries never help but it's part and parcel of football."

Listen to Mark Drury's interview with Kieran Scott in full HERE.