Boateng on Roy's hitlist

ROY Keane's priorities in the transfer market, which were assumed to be a commanding centre-half and a goalscorer, could now include finding a suitable foil for Grant Leadbitter in midfield.

Carl Marston

ROY Keane's priorities in the transfer market, which were assumed to be a commanding centre-half and a goalscorer, could now include finding a suitable foil for Grant Leadbitter in midfield.

Keane has dabbled with different midfield pairings this season, but no one has cemented his place alongside Leadbitter in Town's engine room.

That's why reports of a Town loan bid for Hull City's experienced midfielder George Boateng, which were supposedly rejected, ring true.


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Boateng was allegedly alerted to Town's interest in him at the back end of last week. But he told manager Phil Brown that he preferred to stay and fight for his place, rather than up sticks and move down to Suffolk.

Liam Trotter and Jack Colback have been vying for the right to partner Leadbitter in central midfield over the last couple of months, but both have struggled to make an impact.

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Colback played at Plymouth; Trotter was recalled against Derby on Saturday. Alan Quinn actually finished the Derby game playing alongside Leadbitter, following Trotter's withdrawal before the hour mark.

Long-term injury victim David Norris is on course to return to the fold within the next month, after damaged knee ligaments during the opening day defeat at Coventry.

But Keane might want to find a quickfire alternative, in the loan market, to help boost Town's chances of escaping the relegation zone.

However, Boateng is in no rush to go anywhere. The 34-year-old former Dutch international is on good wages at the KC Stadium, following his �1million switch from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2008.

So although he's only featured in four games for a struggling Tigers team, who are stuck in the Premier League's bottom three with just two wins this season, he still sees his short-term future on Humberside.

Boateng's current contract expires next summer, so he is more likely to be on his way when the transfer window reopens in January.

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