SAINTS’ promotion rivals Middlesbrough are expected to renew their interest in Southampton-born Lukas Jutkiewicz when the January transfer window opens.

Boro first enquired about the Coventry City top scorer last August, and were also believed to be interested again when Saints were keen to sign him during the November emergency loan window.

Boro boss Tony Mowbray is keen to sign an experienced striker who can not only provide cover for injuries but also force his way into the starting XI.

Bart Ogbeche, whose contract runs until the end of the season, has impressed in his two starts so far.

But he’s the only senior striker in Mowbray’s squad apart from top scorer Marvin Emnes and ex-Saint Scott McDonald.

Though Saints boss Nigel Adkins is also interested in signing a striker, Boro’s need is much greater – Saints have scored almost twice as many goals as the Riverside club.

But Saints are short of numbers with only Rickie Lambert, Guly do Prado and David Connolly currently fit and in favour – and Connolly has only just returned after weeks on the sidelines.

Lee Barnard is out injured while fringe player Jonathan Forte, wanted by Walsall, has not even made the bench in recent games despite Barnard’s absence.

Beyond that, youngster Ryan Doble is still waiting for his first senior Saints appearance despite loan experience at the likes of Stockport and Bournemouth.