Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has suggested that he is having regular conversations with forward Ashley Fletcher over his long-term future at the Riverside, but that he does not expect his situation to be sorted until the summer.
Fletcher is one of the Middlesbrough players whose current deal is set to expire in the summer. The forward has endured an injury-hit campaign which has limited his impact for Boro, but has managed to register two goals and one assist in his nine Championship appearances so far (Sofascore). The 25-year-old made his return to action in the 2-0 win against Preston North End in midweek.
It has previously been reported that Middlesbrough have made a contract offer to Fletcher over extending his deal at the club beyond the summer. The forward though has yet to sign that fresh deal offered to him and it means that heading into the end-of-season run-in his long-term future remains up in the air.
Speaking to Teesside Live, Warnock opened up on Fletcher’s situation and revealed that he has regular conversations with him on his future. However, he added that he feels that there will not be a resolution over his future until the current campaign comes to an end.
He said: “I’m speaking to Ashley all the time and speaking to Britt and all the others, that’s how it goes.
“Those conversations have to remain private really.
“I don’t think there will be anything decided before then (the end of the season) now. We’ve only got nine games so we just have to concentrate on these games and then discussions I’m sure will take place in the summer.”
You would have to say that keeping hold of Fletcher would seem to be a smart move for Middlesbrough with the forward having shown last season that he can be a real asset for them upfront in the Championship. He managed to fire in 11 goals and register seven assists in 43 appearances last term (Sofascore).
The 25-year-old though has endured a torrid time with injuries this season and he needs a good run of games staying fit to close out the season. If he can stay fit then he is someone that adds both a physical and goal scoring presence to the Boro side that they have not had in his absence. Had he been fit all season they might have been able to challenge even more closely for the top-six.
Warnock is clearly keen to keep Fletcher so he will be working hard to try and persuade him that his future lies at the Riverside. The forward had enjoyed a good period with Boro and it would be in his interests to stay because Warnock could well get the best out of him next term.