AITOR Karanka insists that he has other avenues to pursue should Middlesbrough’s drawn-out quest to secure Patrick Bamford’s signature end in failure.
It was thought that the Chelsea striker had all but agreed to join Boro earlier in the week, with only unsigned paperwork precluding him from making his debut against Bolton on Tuesday.
But the 20-year-old – who impressed on loan at Derby last season – is considering his options, with a number of clubs keen on his services and he is now unlikely to team up with the Teessiders ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Sheffield Wednesday (3pm kick-off).
Spanish boss Karanka is desperate to land the privately-schooled England youth international but will grow impatient if Bamford continues to waver and move onto different targets.
A move for wantaway Hartlepool United ace Luke James is not thought to be high on the list, with Karanka wanting a forward who is capable of playing Championship football immediately.
“Patrick… it is the same situation. The club is working,” Karanka said.
“I hope our last game (the 2-1 win at Bolton) convinced him a little bit more.
“Imagine if we were bottom, it would be difficult for him to want to come here.
“But we are fighting for higher positions and, with a full squad, it is easier to convince him.
“We know he has other options because he is a good player, but I want players who want to be here and thinking 100 per cent about Middlesbrough.”
Asked on his options if Bamford does not commit, Karanka added: “Of course (I have other players he is interested in).
“We are working on other players because we have to have other alternatives, but they also have alternatives.
“I need a decision as soon as possible.”
The grind-it-out manner of Boro’s midweek win against Bolton was a source of pleasure for Karanka, who praised his team for mixing their passing style with the hosts’ favoured long-ball tactic.
The visit of Stuart Gray’s unbeaten Owls will see a more fluid, attacking performance from both outfits, Karanka believes: “I expect a different game tomorrow,” added the Spaniard.
“It could be good for us because they play football and for us it’s easier to play against that type of team.
“We prefer to play football and at home we know that are expected to play.”