HAVING stepped up his striker search this week, Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray is keen to recruit a new centre-forward before the end of the month.

Despite the recent arrival of Alex Nimely on loan from Manchester City, Mowbray remains short of alternatives to his established first-choice attacking pairing of Marvin Emnes and Scott McDonald.

He has been running the rule over a trialist, and the African, who is out of contract after being released from his previous club in Greece, made a favourable impression as he scored twice in the development squad's midweek win over Blackburn Rovers.

It remains to be seen whether he is retained for a second week, but having watched his side fail to find the back of the net in their last three matches, Mowbray is determined to secure a new recruit as quickly as possible.

"We've had a trialist in this week, but I don't think it's fair to go into too much detail yet because we're still at a very early stage of proceedings," said the Boro boss. "We're looking at different options.

"We've had a striker in and he scored a couple of goals for us. He did well enough to persuade us to keep him for the rest of the week, and we'll see if we try to take things forward from there.

"He was out of contract when the window closed so he'll be available. That's the type of player we're looking for and, ideally, we'd like to bring someone in as soon as we could. If he's an out-of-contract player and he's good enough for our football club, we'd certainly like to do something before the next window.

"I think we're a striker light. I've talked about that and we tried very hard to add to our striker department in the last window. The search continues in that vein."

While Mowbray is keen to add another forward to his squad, he is preparing to wave goodbye to one of his goalkeepers at the start of next month.

Carl Ikeme's loan spell from Wolves is due to expire in three weeks' time, at which stage Jason Steele should be ready to return to the first team.

Steele was also involved in this week's development game, playing for 75 minutes as he marked his return from a fractured wrist.

He will not start tomorrow's Championship game with Millwall, but is gradually closing in on his first senior appearance since the closing match of last season.

"We've just had five clean sheets on the bounce, so there's no great urgency to make a rash decision concerning Jason," said Mowbray. "He's had 75 minutes in a development game against Blackburn, but that's all.

"We're delighted he's back on the training ground, and we're delighted to see him out there stopping shots. I'm pretty sure that he'll have a big part to play in the rest of the season.

"There's about three weeks left of Carl's loan spell and that will be that in terms of the three-month loan. Hopefully, the timing will work out well and Jason will have a little bit longer to get up to speed before Carl disappears. There should be a natural progression."

With no fresh injuries to report, Mowbray's chief concern ahead of tomorrow's game is the well-being of Rhys Williams.

The versatile defender made two appearances in the space of four days for Australia, and embarked on a 27-hour flight to return him to the North-East.

He will be back at Rockliffe Park this morning, and Mowbray will be monitoring his fitness closely before deciding on his starting line-up to face Millwall.

"The big grey area is how Rhys comes back from Australia," he said. "Will he be telling me that he's exhausted having played two games and spent more than 24 hours in the air flying?"I don't think it will be an injury that keeps anyone out at the weekend, but I have to be mindful that there's two games in a short period of time (Boro travel to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday) and some of the players have been busy during the international week."