West Bromwich Albion are unlikely to view Middlesbrough with much affection this morning.
Not only have Middlesbrough stopped Ugo Ehiogu from moving to The Hawthorns, they have also ensured that Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink will not be joining Albion.
Bryan Robson, the Albion manager, was fuming last night after discovering that Ehiogu, the England international defender, will remain with Middlesbrough after Gareth Southgate sustained an ankle injury and will be absent for three months.
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Ehiogu, aged 33, had passed a medical at The Hawthorns, according to his agent Steve Kutner, and was expected to rejoin Albion this week, having begun his career there before joining Aston Villa.
The move for Hasselbaink, the Holland international striker, is more fanciful but Middlesbrough have made it clear that the player will not be moving to Albion or, indeed, Charlton Athletic or a string of other interested clubs.
Steve McClaren, the Middlesbrough manager, has been told by club directors that he needs to trim the wage bill at the club. Hasselbaink earns £43,000 a week and it is understood that Albion were prepared to effectively take over the player's contract and meet those wage demands.
But Middlesbrough are not guaranteed their Premiership status - they are hovering just above the bottom three - and Hasselbaink remains essential to their plans. That, however, is only a minor inconvenience to Robson.
The real blow is the mess over the Ehiogu saga. Albion have been in need of a new centre-back for as long as Robson has been manager. Ehiogu has been injury-prone in recent months but remains one of the most solid centre-backs in the game.
The loss of Southgate, the Middlesbrough captain, for up to three months after he sustained a suspected stress fracture of an ankle has had a knock-on effect.
Southgate, aged 35, picked up the injury during the FA Cup third-round match away to Nuneaton Borough on Saturday. Kutner had claimed that Ehiogu was still determined to join Albion but it is understood that Middlesbrough have pulled the plug on the deal.
"Ugo has passed his medical and agreed everything," Kutner said. "He does not want to go back to Middlesbrough, despite what might have happened. In his head, he is a West Brom player and was gearing up to play for them this weekend."
When Southgate's injury failed to clear up after the 1-1 draw at Manor Park, Boro's medical team became concerned.
The injury comes after lengthy lay-offs for George Boateng and Franck Queudrue who have been told they are out for up to eight weeks.
It means that Southgate will miss the replay against Nuneaton at the Riverside Stadium next Tuesday as well as a possible fourth-round tie away to Coventry City at the end of the month.
It is a significant blow for McClaren's hopes of progressing in Europe. Middlesbrough facing VfB Stuttgart in the last 32 of the Uefa Cup on February 16 and 23 while their domestic form has also been causing concern.
Middlesbrough had been expected to challenge for a European place again but are only two places off the bottom after a run of seven Premiership matches without victory and a match at Arsenal on Saturday.
The Teessiders did receive some better news last night after Stewart Downing and Ray Parlour completed 65 minutes of a reserve-team match against Sunderland.
It was the first action since August for Downing and September for Parlour. But these issues will not concern Robson. He is anxious to strengthen an Albion squad team still too close to the bottom three.
While this is easily the strongest squad at The Hawthorns in the generation, that is not really saying much.
Robson wants his team to be sitting comfortably in the middle of the table.
For that, he needs a solid defender to partner Neil Clement, and a striker with the ability to score 20 goals a season.