MIDDLESBROUGH midfielder Alex Pattison will return to York City on loan next week and he could be followed by Barnsley striker Victor Adeboyejo.

Pattison, who won The Press Player of the Month for December prize during his first spell with the Minstermen, will start his second stint at Bootham Crescent after playing for Boro under-23s against Stoke at St George’s Park on Monday night.

Nigerian striker Adeboyejo is also believed to be on Martin Gray’s wanted list after he bagged a brace for Barnsley under-23s in a 4-2 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Friday night.

Adeboyejo, 20, made his professional debut at the age of 16 for Leyton Orient in League One.

He went on to score once in 18 outings for the London club but, after loan spells with Royston Town, Hemel Hempstead, Heybridge Swifts, Dulwich Hamlet, Soham Town and Margate, joined Barnsley last summer.

Adeboyejo is yet to make the first-team breakthrough at Oakwell and, with the Football League transfer window having closed, could now be available for a loan move to the National League North Minstemen.

On his recruitment plans following this afternoon’s 1-1 draw at Tamworth, Gray said: “We tried like hell to get Alex Pattison in for the Tamworth match but I’ve been told by Middlesbrough we can have him on Tuesday until the end of the season.

“We’re also hoping to bring another player in, who scored a couple of goals for an under-23 team on Friday night, but we’re not in charge of these situations. We have to wait until teams let us take them.”

Gray is looking for striking reinforcements, having allowed Amari Morgan-Smith to leave for Telford, while Raul Correia and James Gray also struggled to make their presence felt at Tamworth, where 25-goal Jon Parkin was ruled out due to concerns over the hosts’ 3G pitch.

The Minstermen chief called on the likes of goal-less Gray and Correia to be more like 1980s’ master-poacher Ian Rush afterwards, reasoning: “We fizzed lots of balls across the face of goal and those are the Ian Rush goals you need to take in the six-yard box.

“People said he was lucky, but he wasn’t. He had the desire to get into areas where you get hurt and our forwards have got to come to the table.”

Gray went on to explain that Morgan-Smith’s goal return of five in 32 outings this term was the reason for moving him on, adding: “He wanted football and it’s a chance for him to get that closer to his home.

“He was a smashing boy to work with, but we needed him to score more goals and, if he had, he wouldn’t be leaving – that’s the top and bottom of it. He didn’t take a couple of chances last weekend at Stockport, there was also the one-on-one against Blyth to make it 2-2 and there were other times I wanted him to go and get us a goal and it didn’t happen.

“He hasn’t scored as many as he should have done and his goal return was not what you’re looking for as a manager but, hopefully, he can reignite his career now because, as a professional, he’s an honest lad.”

Gray was left ruing two dropped points, meanwhile, at the Lamb Ground after Darryl Knights 89th-minute strike following a poorly-cleared throw-in cancelled out Aidan Connolly’s second-half opener for the visitors. Summing up his thoughts, the City chief admitted: “When you’re 1-0 up with three minutes to go, it’s two points dropped, not one gained. I thought we started well and had lots of possession, but they went 4-5-1, which made it hard to break them down.

“We had to be patient and I thought our performance was strong in the second half. We were on the front foot, but we needed that second goal to kill the game off.

“It still took a great strike to get them a point, but it came from the second phase of a set-play, which seems a common trend and, if you don’t focus in those situations, you get punished.”

With Parkin out, Connor Smith was handed his first start since a summer switch from Hartlepool, playing on the right flank in a 4-5-1 formation and Gray was pleased with his contribution, declaring: “He worked hard for the reserves in midweek and I thought he deserved to start.

“He’s a kid you can trust even though he hasn’t played regularly and, with Amari leaving and big Jon not available, we had a small squad. We’re still looking to recruit, but he’s an honest lad and I thought his all-round performance was great on and off the ball.”

Gray went on to reveal that he had a tactical rethink on the day of the game, due to doubts over centre-back Hamza Bencherif’s fitness.

“We were going to play a back three, but Hamza’s back seized up on the morning of the game,” the City boss revealed. “The physio got him right, but I didn’t want to start with a three and then have to make a substitution after five minutes there.”