Jonathan Woodgate quizzed on Middlesbrough's contract situation and new signings
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate is confident Jonny Howson will sign a new deal at the club.
Howson, 29, is one of seven Boro players who will see their current deal expire at the end of the season, along with George Friend, Ryan Shotton, Daniel Ayala, Adam Clayton, Marvin Johnson and Rudy Gestede.
Woodgate has been full of praise for Howson in recent weeks, highlighting the player’s leadership qualities, professionalism and versatility.
“I’m sure we’ll get Jonny sorted,” said the Boro boss when quizzed on Howson’s contract situation. “I hope we do because he’s been fantastic.
“Those type of players, you need them. He can play right-back, right wing-back, centre-back, No 10.
“He can play in those positions, he’s a leader in the dressing room who leads by example. Vital.”
Woodgate was then asked if he’s confident about keeping the other players who will be out of contract in the summer.
“I’m confident, I’m always confident,” he replied. “I want to keep them, they are really important for me.”
Boro are also looking to make more signings this month following the loan arrivals of Patrick Roberts and Lukas Nmecha on loan from Manchester City.
One area where the Teessiders do look short is at centre-back, with the extent of Daniel Ayala’s ankle injury still unknown.
Midfielders Howson and Paddy McNair have been asked to play centre-back in recent weeks and Woodgate admitted he’s considering his options.
“Are we looking at defenders in January? Maybe,” said the Boro boss. “If something comes available, we’ll look at what option it is. At the minute, they’re (Howson and McNair) doing well for me, but I’d like to play Paddy in midfield really.”
“It’s a big position to play, centre-half, especially in the Championship. It’s a big position and we’ve got lots of options we’ve been looking at.”
Woodgate is also happy to get players in early which will allow them extra time to integrate with the squad.
“It’s really good to get them in early, it gets them another six games.
“I can do more work with them, they can meet the lads get to know the place and get more minutes.”