MICHAEL Carrick has stressed his belief that Middlesbrough have enough goals in their ranks despite ongoing injury issues for their two strikers - and has explained why the club ultimately opted against bringing in another frontman in the January transfer window.

Emmanuel Latte Lath is currently sidelined with an ankle injury and is not expected to be fit to return for at least a couple of weeks, while Josh Coburn is managing a groin issue that has meant he's only been able to start one Championship game since the middle of November. But Carrick says Boro have flexibility and options across the forward line and isn't concerned about a lack of firepower.

With Latte Lath still expected to play a key role in the second half of the season and Coburn responding well to treatment, Carrick reiterated the club's transfer stance, saying: "I've said to you before that buying players for the sake of a few weeks isn't always the answer."

Boro did push to sign a striker in January but the message throughout the month was that the club wouldn't panic or rush into deals to sign players who weren't deemed the right fit. They also refused to pay over the odds for players, with a number of Championship clubs in the market for a small pool of available strikers.

And Carrick was always of the belief that he had enough goals in his squad - even taking into account Latte Lath and Coburn's injury struggles.

Isaiah Jones, Matt Crooks, Sam Greenwood, Riley McGree, Marcus Forss and Sammy Silvera have all scored four or more goals so far this season, and new recruit Finn Azaz scored seven in the first half of the season at Plymouth.


Carrick said: "For us bringing players into the group, it's vital they have to improve you.

"They have to be the right ones for different reasons. It's not a case of just bringing someone in to be a stop-gap or to fill a slot, they have to really improve us and there has to be a really good reason for that. We feel the players we have brought in, we're really happy with. They're here for good reason and we've seen that already.

"Certainly in forward areas we're flexible, boys can play across the forward line, we can mix it up a bit in terms of positioning which is good for us. We certainly feel there's enough goals throughout the team to make the difference."

Boro did strengthen their ranks in January, with Azaz arriving from Aston Villa and full-backs Luke Ayling and Luke Thomas joining on loan.

Carrick said: "We have a really good, strong squad. We're balanced pretty well with the additions we've brought in.

"That was important for us. We're covered in pretty much every position. Yeah, of course we want the boys back who are carrying niggles and injuries, when we do we'll be even stronger.

"But I've felt in training over the past week the squad is definitely getting stronger and we're in a good place. There's a good mix of experience and youth and potential talent as well. I'm happy."