Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has warned Lewis Wing that he faces a tough ride to try and get back into his selection plans next season.
Boro fans have seen their season peter out in recent weeks, with a play-off challenge at one stage looking likely but the club have since slumped to a winless run of five Championship matches.
And there may very well be a mini exodus on Teesside at the end of the season, with captain Britt Assombalonga already confirmed to be departing and fellow out of contract players Marvin Johnson and Ashley Fletcher unlikely to new new deals.
There’s also bound to be transfer interest in promising talents such as Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier, who’ve both attracted Premier League speculation recently, so Warnock may have to undergo some kind of rebuild.
Central midfield is an area that looks like it will be strengthened this summer at the Riverside Stadium and one player who will be returning to the club after a loan spell at Rotherham United is Lewis Wing.
The 25-year-old was plucked from non-league Shildon in 2017 and he was a regular for most of last season, scoring seven times in the Championship but he featured a bit less towards the end of the campaign and he was not in favour under Warnock for the first half of the current season.
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Wing has played 15 times for Rotherham so far since his January move but he’s set to be given a chance like everyone else in pre-season by Warnock – but he still may not get back into his team.
“We’ve been watching Lewis. I watched him on Sunday and he’s trying his best,” Warnock said of Wing, per the Northern Echo.
“He knows how I’m looking to improve that area and he’ll find it very difficult, that’s why I wanted him to go and get some games really.
“In pre-season, he’ll be on the same footing as everyone else, he’ll have to show me what he can do.”
It would be no real shock if Wing heads out the exit door of Boro permanently in the summer.
Warnock has already spoke about central midfield being a position he wants to add to, which will mean he would be shuffled down the pecking order even further unless he had a spectacular pre-season campaign.
If Rotherham survive the drop then it wouldn’t be a shock to see Wing end up there on a full-time basis, or even Preston North End could come back in for him after reports of their January interest.