Middlesbrough V West Brom at Riverside Stadium : Match Preview

30 January 2017
Middlesbrough V West Brom - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka frustrated by lack of signings

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka has vented his frustration at the club's failure to capture his top transfer targets during the January window.

Boro had a bid turned down last week for Hull's Robert Snodgrass, who has since joined West Ham for B#10.2million, while another target, Paris St Germain winger Jese Rodriguez, is understood to have opted for a loan switch to hometown club Las Palmas.

The transfer deadline is at 11pm on Tuesday and Karanka is clearly unimpressed with the club's new arrivals so far, with his side embroiled in a battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Boro completed the permanent signings earlier this month of Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede, from Chelsea and Blackburn respectively, but Karanka wanted more.

"I said always the aim in the transfer window was to improve the squad and we didn't. I will try my best," Karanka told a press conference before Tuesday night's home game against West Brom.

"It's not difficult for me because I said after the (Accrington) game that I don't know anything that is happening with new players and I don't want to know.

"We have a game tomorrow and it's a really important game for us. We've been working really hard to prepare for the game.

"We had a first meeting one and a half months ago and we already knew the targets at that moment.

"Now with two days to finish we had an important game against Accrington on Saturday and we have a massive game (on Tuesday)."

When asked why it had proved difficult to attract players to the club, Karanka said: "I don't know. That's not a question for me.

"I try my best. I'm thinking about (the West Brom) game."

Karanka confirmed George Friend would miss the fixture after being forced out of Saturday's FA Cup win against Accrington with a lower back problem.

But fellow defender Daniel Ayala returns to contention after a three-game ban and Antonio Barragan was also expected to be available following a hamstring problem.

West Brom travel to Middlesbrough night looking to maintain their recent improvement that has seen them emerge as surprise contenders for European football next season.

The Baggies are eighth in the table, four points behind Everton above them and four points above Stoke in ninth place.

After an impressive first half of the season, Baggies boss Tony Pulis is looking to guard against complacency and push on again to the end of the campaign - starting at the Riverside.

"It's always tough having a game in the north-east. The supporters are fanatical and make it very hard for you," said the Welshman.

"What we need to do is maintain our standards. The main reason you want to add (to the squad) is to bring players in that will raise the standard.

"The ambitious players within the group want to do that or else they could get complacent. Certain people might get complacent and you don't want that.

"We've moved up a level this year and now we're in a pool competing against West Ham and Everton. It will be difficult on Tuesday, Middlesbrough are a good team, especially at home."

Defender Johnny Evans is likely to remain sidelined for the trip to Middlesbrough.

The centre-half hobbled off with a calf injury against Hull on January 2 which forced him to miss the last three matches and Baggies boss Tony Pulis is pessimistic about his chances of being fit for Tuesday night.

Pulis revealed he will also be without on-loan Everton defender Brendan Galloway at the Riverside while recent signing Jake Livermore is expected to be on the bench once more as he awaits his full debut.