Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay bemoans 'inflated' transfer prices
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay says exaggerated transfer fees during the January window will hinder his hopes of signing new players.
Despite his side's strong start to the season, Mackay feels there is "huge room for improvement" in his squad.
His attempts to sign a player on loan in November came to nothing but Mackay insists he will not be panic buying.
"The squad has to improve in terms of the size and the depth," said Mackay, who has signed 11 players since June.
"But it'll be when the right person comes available not just a scattergun approach.
"The market is certainly inflated in terms of the prices, unless there's someone coming out of contract. Invariable everyone and their dog knows about that one anyway.
"Apart from Man City I think everyone is financially restricted. We've got budgets that we work to and we'll work within them."
Cardiff face a stern test of their promotion credentials on Saturday when they welcome Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Only goal difference separates both sides, with the Bluebirds one place above in third.
Boro were languishing in 22nd place when Mowbray took over in October 2010, and Mackay believes his former Celtic team-mate is now beginning to enjoy the benefits of fielding a team of his own making.
"You're now looking at a team that is his team as opposed to a team he took over," said the Cardiff manager.
"He's needed more time to make it his team, but he's got a team there he's got organised, got them playing the way he wants them to and they're getting results.
"He's an experienced manager and it's going to be a test for us. It's a Premiership-type club; people look at them as that.
"A lot of financial investment has gone into that squad in the past and there are still people there that were involved in that."
Cardiff are almost back to full strength for Boro's visit, with only Stephen McPhail not considered for selection.
Centre back Anthony Gerrard has recovered from a hamstring injury, and Aron Gunnarsson (dead leg) and Philip Kiss (ankle) are set to be reunited in midfield.
"It's great having your players back," added Mackay. "Aron was unavailable last Saturday so it's great to have him and Filip back."