Rotherham United suffered striker frustration as they made only one signing on transfer deadline day.
New boss Alan Stubbs had been looking to bring in a centre-forward all summer, but young Middlesbrough centre-half Dael Fry was the only player to arrive before last night’s 11pm deadline.
Fans had been desperate to see a new frontman at New York Stadium after bids for Millwall’s Lee Gregory and Walsall’s Tom Bradshaw in the last couple of months came to nothing.
Two players left, midfielder Richard Smallwood joining League One Scunthorpe on loan until the end of the season and defender Tom Thorpe heading to Bolton for the rest of the campaign.
Stubbs believes Fry, who celebrated his 19th birthday yesterday, can use his time with the Championship club as a springboard to playing in the top flight.
“He has very good attributes for a defender and has a very bright future ahead of him,” he said. “I’m sure his performances will show that. This is the next step in his development in order for him to play in the Premier League.”
“There was a lot of interest around him at a number of Championship clubs and he is someone we have been looking at for a while.”
The Star understands the Millers had been interested in Celtic central defender Efe Ambrose but were unable to agree terms with the 27-year-old Nigerian centre-half.
Another player thought to have been on their radar in the last few days of the window was Austrian striker Martin Pusik, aged 28, who plays in Denmark for Midtjylland.
Fry played seven league games for Boro last season, including their 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Millers in March, and is an England Under-19 international.
“We are delighted to get him in,” the manager added. “He is a young defender with huge potential and he is someone Middlesbrough think very highly of.
“He was involved in their promotion campaign last season, so that tells you just what they think of him.”
Smallwood joined the Iron despite a Scottish Premier League club also wanting him.
The 25-year-old had been a key man for Rotherham for the last two seasons, making more appearances, 45, than any other player last year and winning the Player of the Year award in 2014/15.
He was also a hero of the 2014 League One Play-off Final success at Wembley against Leyton Orient when he scored in the penalty shoot-out.
Stubbs is looking to introduce a more attacking, defensive style of play and obviously feels the midfield man doesn’t fit his blueprint.
Smallwood said: “It’s a good opportunity for me to get some games. It’s about getting more game-time and I’m looking forward to getting started.
“I’m a central midfielder and a little bit more defensive than attacking. I like to do the dirty work, pass the ball and supply the quality to the more advanced players who will get the goals and the assists. If I can feed them, that’s my job done.”