Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka’s praise for his ‘perfect’ goalkeeper in Huddersfield Town’s 2-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium spoke volumes about the level of Town’s performance in pressing for an equaliser.
Twice Dimi Konstantopoulos made crucial saves from Town players and kept a hard-earned clean sheet in the face of concerted Terriers pressure, even if he was also ably assisted by the post and defenders on the goal-line.
Town players can hold their heads high after suffering numerous setbacks during the course of the game and being unlucky to lose 2-0.
The returning Jonathan Hogg was replaced due to injury at half-time, but it was James Vaughan’s departure after 20 minutes with a fractured eye socket and cheekbone that will concern Town fans the most.
Nahki Wells is once again the only fit first-team striker on the books, and no timeframe has been set on Vaughan’s return. A new striker was already a priority, but this latest injury blow has intensified the need for a new front man.
The big question is who could be the new striker? Will it be a young, hungry player from a Premier League side looking to prove a point, or an experienced old head who just wants to play some football?
The usual names have already been mentioned, although they are more likely to be pie in the sky suggestions - Leicester’s Chris Wood, for instance, has already seen a move to Wolves fall through this season over a £2m-plus transfer fee.
More likely is a loan, though probably not of someone such as West Ham’s Carlton Cole, who would command wages far beyond Town’s finances under FFP.
It isn’t even as if Town have the young, hungry talent waiting in the wings who could step up into the central striker role.
The likes of Danny Carr have looked lacking in the Championship on the occasions when they have been called upon, and it’s difficult to see anyone else in the squad who might fill the role, after the departures of Jon Stead, Danny Ward and the soon-to-be-confirmed transfer of Martin Paterson.
A striker is a priority in the remainder of the transfer window. Wells cannot be expected to play up on his own, as his game loses its potency when relied upon to do so. Someone needs to come in to be his foil.