Kitson is poised for Boro
GORDON STRACHAN is poised to make his third signing as Middlesbrough manager after lining up Stoke City striker Dave Kitson on a twomonth loan. Kitson is expected to complete the move to the North- East within the next 48 hours and Strachan intends to have him available for Saturday's visit of Nottingham Forest. Boro have been in talks with Stoke since last week and the Potters have been receptive, with the former Reading forward out of favour at the Britannia Stadium. Providing there are no late hitches in the deal, Strachan will then use the remainder of the year to assess the merits of making the temporary switch a more permanent arrangement in January. The Middlesbrough boss has made no secret of his desire to strengthen his attacking options, having witnessed his team lose 1-0 in his first two matches in charge, at Crystal Palace and to Plymouth. Marcus Bent was the first to arrive and he made his first start for the club alongside Leroy Lita at Selhurst Park. However, with Caleb Folan and Jeremie Aliadiere still ruled out through injury, Strachan has moved to add Kitson to his ranks and he is thought to be working on more deals. Kitson, who moved to Stoke for £5.5m in the summer of last year, looked like he had resurrected his career under Tony Pulis when he scored three goals in four matches. But Pulis has overlooked the 29-year-old for the last five Premier League matches and the return to fitness of Mama Sidibe meant he did not even make the bench against Wolves on October 31. Kitson spent the last twoand- a-half months of last season on loan at former club Reading, but the Royals' failure to climb back into the topflight prevented him from sealing a permanent return. As well as Bent, Strachan has also added Aston Villa midfielder Isaiah Osbourne since taking over last month and he is still on the look out for a right-midfielder. Strachan, meanwhile, is not on the radar of the Scottish Football Association as one of the leading contenders to replaced George Burley, who was sacked yesterday. SFA chiefs would prefer to appoint either Rangers manager Walter Smith or Strachan, but they are not in a position to be able to pay a hefty compensation bill. With the 52-year-old only signing a three-and-a-half year contract at the Riverside a few weeks ago, the SFA would have to stump up a sizeable figure for his services. Strachan and Smith were the leading contenders for the Scotland post in 2004, only for the SFA to eventually opt for the latter. Boro fans have the chance to get a range of merchandise signed when past and present stars hold signing sessions at the club stores. Gary O'Neil and Mark Yeates will both be involved, along with John Hendrie, John Hickton and John Craggs. O'Neil and Yeates will be signing official merchandise 4-5pm on Thursday in Captain Cook Square, Middlesbrough. Hendrie, Hickton and Craggs will hold a double signing session on November 21 ahead of Boro's game with Nottingham Forest. The first will be in the MFC official club store in Captain Cook Square, 10.30am- 11.30am, the second in the stadium store 12-1pm.
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