Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has dismissed media reports that striker Jordan Rhodes could be on his way out of the club during the impending January transfer window.
Rumours had been circling that the Scotland international was no longer content to play second fiddle to Alvaro Negredo and was angling for the exit door, with a return to the second tier mooted.
However, Karanka said that there was no truth in the reports - though he admitted that Rhodes and his fellow forward David Nugent were "frustrated" to not be more involved in first-team proceedings.
Unused players right to be frustrated
"Every single player who is not playing is frustrated," he told The Gazette.
"I was the same when I was a player but as a manager I have to think about the team and put the best eleven out on the pitch."
Neither Rhodes nor Nugent has completed 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, despite both playing key roles in the club's promotion from the Championship last term.
With first-choice forward Negredo struggling in front of goal - he has not scored since the opening weekend, though he has several assists to his name - there have been calls from the fans for one of Rhodes or Nugent to take his starting spot.
Negredo trusts in own ability
However, the former Manchester City and Spain striker says he still has confidence in his own ability, and says he is working hard for the team despite his modest goal tally.
"I have always put trust in my own ability. Now I have a team behind me who want to help me and believe in that too.
"I'm determined to do well, not just on a personal level, but also for Boro and for the fans."
Karanka has echoed this trust in and praise for his high-profile summer signing, so it seems likely that Negredo will lead the line once more for Boro against champions Leicester City this weekend.
The Teessiders will be without left-back and stand-in captain George Friend for the trip to the King Power Stadium, meaning Ben Gibson is likely to keep the armband after leading the side in their defeat to Chelsea last week.