MIDDLESBROUGH emerged from the January transfer window having resisted the overtures of Premier League Bolton Wanderers towards defender Rhys Williams.
The Trotters have been on the versatile Australia international’s trail for some time and are understood to have had a £6m bid rebuffed yesterday.
However, Championship promotion contenders Boro are under no pressure to sell as manager Tony Mowbray attempts to guide them back into the top-flight.
Mowbray – whose side travel to Leicester City tonight – has urged his players to carry their FA Cup form into their promotion quest.
The Teessiders booked themselves a fourth-round replay against neighbours Sunderland at the Riverside Stadium with a spirited performance in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.
Indeed, Boro led through Barry Robson’s early strike and were only denied victory by returning striker Fraizer Campbell’s second-half equaliser.
Mowbray was delighted with the way his players rose to the challenge of taking on top-flight opposition on their own park, but swiftly turned his attention back to trying to ensure they are able to do that on a regular basis.
He said: “The target for our football club, of course, is to try to get back and compete with the likes of Sunderland and Newcastle on a weekly basis.
“We have got to keep going this season and see where it takes us.
“If you look at our results in the last month or so, they have been difficult for us, and yet generally by fine margins.
“We could have been sitting here having lost this game 2-1 from a set-play or a free-kick and thinking our poor run continues.
“There are fine margins in football. In our defeats so far this season, we have generally been in the game and shown what you saw on Sunday.
“Early season, we were coming out winning tight football matches; in the last month or so, we have been losing them.”
Boro arrived in Wearside having lost all three of their npower Championship games in January and now face a difficult trip to Leicester.
They did so without suspended duo Julio Arca and Kevin Thomson and the injured Jason Steele, Nicky Bailey, Merouane Zemmama and Bart Ogbeche, while keeper Danny Coyne, who had not trained all week, joined the casualty list with a calf problem which could yet persuade Mowbray to make a loan signing.
He admits the demands of running a promotion campaign alongside an FA Cup run are taxing to say the least, although he remains undaunted.
He said: “There are probably midweek games now for the next three or four weeks.
“You saw our bench – we had five 18-year-olds – it’s starting to get very, very stretched, and we need to keep going in the league campaign.
“We need to rebound from some negative results over the last month and get back to winning ways.
“In December, we went unbeaten and won four out of five; this month, we haven’t won.
“We need to get back to winning ways quickly, and it’s going to be a big ask, going to Leicester, who are on fire at the moment.”