Middlesbrough are short in numbers by Head Coach Jonathan Woodgate’s own admission, and they are looking to strengthen before the transfer window closes next week.

According to Pete O’Rourke of The Football Insider, Middlesbrough have identified right-back Alan Hutton as a potential acquisition, and have entered talks to sign the former-Aston Villa man.

Hutton was not offered a new deal at Villa Park this summer and is a free agent. Boro are actively looking to sign players for relatively small fees, and a free transfer for a player of Hutton’s experience would fit the bill.

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There isn’t a natural right-back at the club at present, with Ryan Shotton, signed as a centre-back, deputising in that position last season under previous boss Tony Pulis, and Johnny Howson expected to be the first choice this campaign.

Hutton is also versatile in that he is able to play on the left side of a back four, and will help in the development of the young players coming through at left-back like Hayden Coulson and new signing Marc Bola, given his experience.

The defender, now 34, has had spells at Rangers, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Bolton, as well as a loan move to Mallorca in La Liga, and he was part of the Tottenham Carling Cup winning side of 2008, in which new Middlesbrough Head Coach Jonathan Woodgate scored the eventual match winner.

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The report suggests Boro will fight off the competition for his signature, with the likes of Nottingham Forest, Rangers, Hull City, Leeds United and Wigan all interested.

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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook