KIERAN Scott has lifted the lid on Middlesbrough's January search for a striker and says, despite Boro's preparation and efforts, they had to accept there wasn't any "achievable" signings in the difficult winter window.

The club's head of football says Boro didn't want to "throw money down the drain" and still believes there are enough goals - and centre-forwards - in Michael Carrick's squad to maintain a push for the Championship's top six in the second half of the season.

Scott has, however - in conversation with the Twe12thman podcast - revealed that Boro have an eye on the free agent market and would be willing to make a move if they thought the right player was available.

Boro made three January signings with the arrivals of Finn Azaz, Luke Ayling and Luke Thomas and continued their search for a striker until deadline day.

Josh Coburn and Emmanuel Latte Lath, Boro's two out-and-out centre forwards, have both had injury troubles this season. Latte Lath is currently out with an ankle problem, while Coburn has only managed to start one league game in almost three months because of an ongoing groin issue.

That has meant Carrick has had to be flexible and creative with his forward line, but he does have options, with Scott also classing in-form Marcus Forss and Leeds United loanee Sam Greenwood as strikers. Greenwood led the line against Sunderland on Sunday, while Forss has scored three goals in three league appearances since his return from injury.


Boro did try to bolster their forward line last month but it didn't prove possible to land a target, and Scott, his recruitment team and the club's management all agreed there was no need to panic.

"It wasn't through a want of trying," said Scott on the striker search, part of a wide-ranging interview with the Twe12thman podcast.

"The one thing we refused to do is get caught up in throwing money down the drain. We didn't feel there was a player who was achievable for us in the window.

"Financially, as always, the owner Steve does his best to support us, so it's not a financial issue. We tried our best with every player but there were a few issues with players suiting our style of play.

"I still personally think we have four strikers at the club, it's not just Josh and Emmanuel - we have Marcus and Sam Greenwood. To find players better than that you have to spend a hell of a lot of money.

"In a January window, there's an element of risk. Have they played a lot of football? Are they going to turn up and need six games to get going? There wasn't an opportunity to sign a player who could come in and make a difference.

"What we could have done is appeased everybody and thrown X amount of money at one that makes everyone feel better but we didn't feel it was the right risk to take. The right player didn't come up. I know that doesn't suit everyone but from the club's perspective we didn't want to throw a load of money down the drain."

The window is now closed but clubs are still able to sign free agents and it's a market Boro are monitoring, though Scott strongly suggested Dwight Gayle - released by Stoke City - won't be heading to Teesside, saying a deal to sign the former Newcastle striker would be "difficult".

He said: "Before I came on this call, I was on a call with Chris Jones (Boro's head of scouting) and we were discussing free agents. We absolutely look at that market, it is a good market.

"We'll see where we get to on that, but we always like to have a plan on every eventuality. But we'll sit with Michael and the guys tomorrow and say we've identified XXX and we have that ongoing discussion like we always do."