Plenty of ifs but no Butt for Boro

Steve McClaren’s hopes of parading Nicky Butt on the Riverside pitch before Middlesbrough’s League Cup semifinal against Arsenal on Tuesday were dashed by the midfielder’s reluctance to leave Manchester United.

Middlesbrough made an inquiry about the possibility of buying Butt but, although Manchester United were apparently happy to do business, the player has decided he wants to remain at the club and fight for a first-team place.

‘Nicky Butt is a player I’ve always admired, no two ways about it,” McClaren said this week. ‘But my understanding of the lastest position with Nicky is that he is staying at Old Trafford and that’s the end of it.”

One player Mclaren is likely to be signing is Danny Mills. The sometime England right-back is on a season-long loan from Leeds and, although McClaren fears his endeavours to obtain the player’s registration this month may be doomed, he is confident of securing the transfer in the off-season.

‘We’re trying to have daily dialogue with Leeds about Danny but with their current predicament it is very difficult. We’ve made it clear we want a permanent deal, though, and while I’m never usually confident about any transfer I am very confident that Danny will become a Boro player.”

McClaren, recently rebuffed by Liverpool’s Emile Heskey, also hopes to have a new striker by the close of the transfer window. ‘I’d like to strengthen, I need to strengthen and I’m still trying for a striker,” he said. —

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