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Millwall join Middlesbrough in transfer race for 23-year-old



Championship club Millwall have joined league rivals Middlesbrough in the race for Accrington Stanley centre-back Ross Sykes, as per a report from journalist Alan Nixon.

The 23-year-old has been one of the first names on the teamsheet under John Coleman this term, recording three goals and four assists as a real asset both going back and in attack, standing out as one of the most threatening defenders in the third tier.

It was reported back in February that Chris Wilder’s men were interested in recruiting the 23-year-old with the Teesside outfit failing to get a deal over the like for target Jack Simpson during the winter transfer window.

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However, another side that play a back-three system in Millwall have now joined them as Gary Rowett looks to provide competition for the likes of Shaun Hutchinson, Jake Cooper and Murray Wallace.

This link may come as a considerable surprise considering the London-based outfit have only conceded 40 goals in 41 second-tier games this term.

However, Daniel Ballard is set to return to parent club and Premier League side Arsenal on the expiration of his loan spell at The Den, a blow for the Lions with the centre-back starting regularly when available this season.

Nixon’s report this morning has revealed they are currently monitoring 23-year-old Sykes as a potential replacement, though they will need to fork out a transfer fee for his services with Stanley holding the option to trigger an extension in his contract.

The Verdict:

Rowett is only likely to have a limited budget this summer so it would be wise to move for a player in a lower division who is likely to cost less than a recruit from the second tier or top flight.

His spending power may have been boosted if they cashed in on Jed Wallace last summer or during the winter window – but they opted against that and that may prove to be a blow with the wide man likely to move on regardless.

This means they will need to purchase a replacement for him with Benik Afobe also set to return to Stoke City on the expiration of his temporary spell at the end of the season, so their focus needs to be on recruiting enough firepower.

Even with their current options, they haven’t scored enough goals this term, though their 4-1 victory against Barnsley yesterday afternoon was promising and something they will want to build on.

This is why a large proportion of their budget needs to be devoted to attackers, so the Lions will be praying they can get a cheap deal over the line. If they can’t, it may provide Boro with the upper hand in the race.

The likely offer of more first-team football may persuade Sykes to join Millwall though with Paddy McNair, Dael Fry and Anfernee Dijksteel all established starters under Wilder at the Riverside Stadium.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Millwall join Middlesbrough in transfer race for 23-year-old

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