MIDDLESBROUGH will begin life without Tuncay Sanli and Robert Huth at Bristol City this afternoon after the former followed the latters lead and completed a £5m move to Stoke City.
Less than 24 hours after Huth signed on the dotted line at the Britannia Stadium, Tuncay was also paraded as a Stoke player to end a twoyear association with the Teessiders.
Having joined on a free transfer from Fenerbahce in June 2007, the Turkey international scored 18 goals in 78 senior appearances for Middlesbrough.
He had been hoping to move to a Premier League side capable of challenging in the top half of the table, but with neither Everton nor Aston Villa showing any inclination to follow up their initial interest in his services, the 27-year-old instead agreed to join Stoke.
Tuncay is an exciting player with his pace and skill who will certainly get the crowd going, said Potters boss Tony Pulis. He is also a player of international calibre and a leader of his national team.
Robert Huth has a great presence about him. Hes a big, strong defender and the fact that he has played nearly 20 times for Germany is some recommendation in my book. Hes one you know you can lean on.
Quite who Middlesbrough will be leaning on for the rest of the season remains to be seen, but Gareth Southgate will be forced to shuffle his pack at Ashton Gate as he attempts to extend Boros unbeaten start to the league season to five games.
In the absence of Huth, Jonathan Grounds is expected to move to centre-half, with Andrew Taylor making his first Championship start at left-back.
ROBERT Huth and Tuncay will be delighted to play for Stoke Citys noisy supporters instead of against them.
The former Middlesbrough pair have vivid memories of a damaging defeat at the Britannia Stadium last March.
And Huth admitted he took very little persuading when City boss Tony Pulis offered him a swift route back to the Premier League.
The German international, whose initial £5m transfer could rise to a club record £6m, said: It was a no-brainer really. This is the league every player wants to play in.
When I played at Stoke with Middlesbrough last season the noise was so loud that I couldnt hear my teammates and they couldnt hear me.
That made the game even more difficult for us and it will be nice to have those supporters cheering me on. Turkey captain Tuncay completed a £5m transfer yesterday and also recalled his memories of the same game.
He said: The fans put real pressure on teams and players who come here and I will be pleased to play for them.
I hope to excite them and make them happy. I wanted to stay in England and I wanted to stay in the Premier League. Pulis, who had seen several transfer targets slip through the net during a frustrating summer, was over the moon with his double coup.
He said: We keep talking about taking this club to the next level and it is players like these who can help to take us there.
Tuncay is a player who can really get the crowd going. He has pace and skill and will give our fans plenty to get excited about.
Hes played more than 50 times for Turkey and comes here with great experience and a great pedigree. To get a player of his calibre is fantastic for our football club. Pulis was equally enthusiastic over the arrival of Huth, adding: Robert is a big defender with a big presence.
Hes played nearly 20 times for Germany and thats some recommendation in my book.
He has had injury problems in the past, but hes over them now.
The signing of Huth will intensify speculation that Ryan Shawcross could be on the move to Liverpool.