Chelsea loanee part of Championship-best forward line, says boss

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka believes Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, Kike and Jelle Vossen form the Championship's best forward line.

Middlesbrough have failed to find the target in their last two Championship outings and three of their last four.

That has led manager Aitor Karanka to face questions regarding his plans for the January transfer window.

He has been pressed on whether more attacking options are required, with there an opportunity for him this month to address that issue.

The Spaniard is, however, of the opinion that he already has enough firepower at his disposal to maintain a push for promotion to the Premier League.

Patrick Bamford will see out the season on loan from Chelsea, Kike has impressed in English football, as has Jelle Vossen, while Albert Adomah and Lee Tomlin provide a further threat from wide and deep.

Karanka told the Gazette: "I don't need any more, I have the three best strikers in the Championship.

"We have played with different options so I don't think it is a problem who is playing, I think it is a problem of concentration.

"I couldn't say last season that we had a lot of quality but this season I can say we have Jelle, we have Kike, we have Patrick, we have Tommo, we have Albert, we have a lot of players who can score goals, but we have to improve."

  GoalsTotal Scoring AttOntarget Scoring AttHit WoodworkAppearancesMins Played
Patrick Bamford 7 49 22 2 19 1,244
Kike 6 73 20 1 25 1,555
Jelle Vossen 4 28 14 3 17 808

Middlesbrough have dropped four points in back-to-back goalless draws with Reading and Blackburn Rovers, but remain fourth in the second-tier standings.

They are just four points adrift of the automatic promotion places and will feel that a top-two finish remains a realistic target.

They have, however, scored fewer goals than any other side in the top seven and will need their forward line to fire if they are to edge their way up the table.

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