McClaren sets sights on Smith

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The Independent Online

Steve McLaren said yesterday that he will look to bring Alan Smith to Middlesbrough from Leeds United in the summer. Smith is almost certain to leave Leeds if they are relegated, and the Boro manager said: "I've seen the stories in the papers and Alan is a player we certainly admire. There is bound to be plenty of interest if and when a striker of his undoubted quality becomes available. We will be expressing our interest."

Steve McLaren said yesterday that he will look to bring Alan Smith to Middlesbrough from Leeds United in the summer. Smith is almost certain to leave Leeds if they are relegated, and the Boro manager said: "I've seen the stories in the papers and Alan is a player we certainly admire. There is bound to be plenty of interest if and when a striker of his undoubted quality becomes available. We will be expressing our interest."

He added: "There are lots of players we would like to bring here and we've got a lot of admiration for Smith and [Mark] Viduka. There's going to be lots of speculation as the summer draws near. This week it's those two, who knows who we will be linked with next week?"

Sunderland have slowed their financial decline but will still end the season with debts of more than £30m. Yesterday the club released their interim results for the six months ending on 31 January and revealed that despite the radical restructuring of the club which took place after relegation from the Premiership last year, the net debt still stands at £33.2m and is expected to be little different to the £36.1m they reported on 31 July 2003 by this year's end.

* Rod Wallace has left Gillingham by mutual consent after two injury-hit seasons. The 34-year-old arrived on a free transfer from Bolton in June 2002 but has been dogged by injury and made only 15 appearances this season.

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