PHIL Parkinson admitted Wanderers lacked spark after slumping to a 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough.

After watching his side contain their hosts for the first 45 minutes, the Whites boss felt two lapses in concentration cost his team as Boro’s £24million attack Martin Braithwaite and Britt Assombalonga sealed three points with a goal apiece.

In comparison, Wanderers were unable to muster a single shot on target at the Riverside, in what the manager admits was a body blow following the win against Cardiff City.

“To get wins at this level we have to be flat out – like we were at the weekend,” he said.

“We lacked a bit of spark after the first goal went in and the fatigue was there for all to see with some of the passes we gave away in the second half.

“Concentration levels have got to be better, we need to be better to get a result on our travels, starting with Sheffield United.”

Wanderers’ lack of attacking threat prompted questions as to why fans’ favourite Adam Le Fondre was not on the bench.

The striker has started just twice since signing in the summer and has not featured at all since the 5-1 defeat at Wolves.

Parkinson explained his reasons for keeping the 31-year-old out of the reckoning.

“Has Alfie done enough when he’s come off the bench, you have to be honest and say probably not,” he said.

“(Aaron) Wilbraham came off the bench at Forest and got us a goal back.

“I have to have all bases covered – like Andy Taylor has gone down injured so I have to make sure I have got a left-back.

“It’s not just a case of having a bench full of attacking players, you have to make sure you don’t leave yourself open.

“Like I have said many times with Alfie it’s fitting him into a system. We started the season with 3-5-2, we got exposed in that system with teams switching the play against us quickly, and we feel our defenders are more suited to a back four.

“Can we play him wide? It’s tough because you need pace and power in those positions at this level, so fitting him in the team is difficult.

“He had that bit of illness and he’s back in training, so he needs to stake a claim to at least be on the bench.”