Aitor Karanka insists Middlesbrough do not need to sign Jordan Rhodes, but admits his current crop of strikers need to start delivering the goods.
In the tightest promotion race for years, Boro are one of four sides tied at the top of the Championship table on 66 points. Then Norwich City are just a single point behind, whilst Brentford are on 62 points and Ipswich Town 61. The latter head to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, in a match which could see Boro take pole position outright albeit possibly for just a short time.
One problem facing the Teessiders, though, is there lack of goals. Of all seven teams vying for a spot in the Premier League they have the weakest record in front of goal, with just 54 to show for their fine campaign to date. This led to speculation that Karanka could make a move for Rhodes, the prolific Blackburn Rovers striker who was reportedly available for an initial loan deal.
However, the Spanish coach played down this speculation on Thursday night, just as Ewood Park coach Gary Bowyer revealed the Scotland international would not be leaving Lancashire before the end of the season. And ahead of the visit of the Tractor Boys, Karanka has gone on to express the faith he has in his current attacking options as he looks to raise their confidence for the run-in.
“We have a goalscoring problem because we have chances and are not scoring,” he told the Northern Echo. “If we had players who started to do that now then we will be in a much stronger position. I am sure that my players can score the goals. If I had not thought that they could score goals I would have looked for strikers one or two months ago in January.
“I was not looking for another striker, I trust all of them in the same way I did when I first started the season with them. My strikers are in a good place when they are scoring goals. When they are not scoring they are affected. But I am very confident in them. All of them have a part to play for me in the next 10 games. They are all very good players.”