MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Pulis may want to achieve plenty more with his side come May, but January at least provided him with some much-needed clarity going forward.
The Boro boss was one of the busiest Championship chiefs on deadline day and the significant movement came with outgoings, with Martin Braithwaite, Cyrus Christie and Ashley Fletcher, bought in for a combined fee of around £18m, leaving for pastures new.
While having no axe to grind with any players wishing to leave, Pulis admits that he found it surprising that players brought in relatively recently professed a desire to go, although it has definitely marked his card for the future.
The no-nonsense Boro chief, whose side visit Norwich City today where he could hand debuts to Mo Besic and Jack Harrison following their arrivals, said: “They (players) either want to play for Middlesbrough Football Club or they do not.
“There is no middle line – you are either with it or not.
“If they want to move and the opportunity is there to move – if it is a good deal for the football club, then fine.
“I think it is important we set in stone what we are trying to achieve.
“This is a fantastic football club with fantastic people. You want people to come here and grow, and people who are here for the right reasons.
“If they come in, and after three or four months, and see it right and fit and want to leave, I find it astonishing, but I just want people who want to be at the football club.
“I have got no problems with all the lads who have left, they are all good lads.
“We have to find players with the character, understanding and commitment that will make them want to stay at this football club.”