Karanka refusing to panic in January sales

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MIDDLESBROUGH manager Aitor Karanka is contemplating some January transfer window shopping, but will not be rushed into any decisions.

The Basque is expected to delve into the market as he attempts to stamp his own mark on the Boro squad, with recruiting central defenders and a centre-forward expected to be high on his shopping list.

With Jonathan Woodgate’s much-documented fitness problems and Rhys Williams having suffered along with a number of Boro’s players during a poor 2013, supporters are hankering for an experienced and imposing centre-half.

Also wanted is another striker to come in, with Curtis Main relatively unproven and Lukas Jutkiewicz having struggled this season although it is rumoured he is interesting Championship rivals Blackburn.

For his part, Karanka insists he will only bring in players who are better than the ones currently at his disposal.

Boro’s boss, whose side face a tough Riverside encounter against leaders Burnley today, said: “The club and myself are watching players to strengthen the squad, but we have one thing clear – players who come must be better than the players we have at the moment.

“We’re working on other players in other leagues and when the window opens in January we will try to get players.

“If some players arrive, it will be good and, if they don’t, I’m happy with my team. We will see on January 31 if we have any more players.

“But if one player or two players come here, they will be better than the players we have here now.”

Last six games: Middlesbrough WLDLWL, Burnley WDWDLD.

Last time: Middlesbrough 3 Burnley 2; August 21, 2012; Championship.

Referee: M Clattenburg (Co Durham).