Neil Warnock discusses Middlesbrough futures of Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher, Duncan Watmore and Patrick Roberts

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Neil Warnock says Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher both want to stay at Middlesbrough and have discussed new contracts at the club.

Both strikers, who joined Boro in the summer of 2017, will see their current deals expire at the end of the season but are yet to be offered new deals

The Teessiders have handed out contract extensions to Marc Bola, Anfernee Dijksteel, Jonny Howson, Paddy McNair, Sam Folarin and Isaiah Jones this season, with Warnock playing a big part in the negotiations.

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When discussing Assombalonga and Fletcher ahead of Boro’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday, Warnock said: “I wanted to prioritise certain lads who we've got done.

Middlesbrough captain Britt Assombalonga.Middlesbrough captain Britt Assombalonga.
Middlesbrough captain Britt Assombalonga.

“We will have a chat. I've had a chat with both of those lads, as you would do.

“You have to get a busy period out of the way before you get into it. I don't think anybody will be leaving, if I'm honest.

“I always think what will be will be, players sign contracts or they don't.”

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The Boro boss was then asked if Assombalonga and Fletcher are keen to stay at the club, to which he replied: “Very keen when I spoke to them, that was in the summer, pre-season. It was around the time I gave Britt the captaincy.

“I will be talking to them both again. It hasn't been my priority because I wanted to get others tied up and then I will have a word in the next couple of weeks.”

Boro are also in talks with forward Duncan Watmore about a contract extension after the player signed a short-term deal until the middle of January.

After struggling with injuries at his former club Sunderland, the forward has scored four goals in five starts since moving to the Riverside in November.

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And after years of constant setbacks, Warnock believes Boro is a good fit for the 26-year-old.

"I'll have another chat with Duncan today after training,” said Warnock on Monday.

“I hope he stays, I'd like him to stay, I think it would be the right decision for both parties, but sometimes you get advice and you tend to listen to that advice at times.

“I'm not always sure it's the right advice, we'll have to see.”

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“If he was a younger lad and hadn't had so many injuries it might be a different ball game.

“Then, financially you need this, that and the other. I'm not sure financially that's Duncan's priority if I was advising him, it's playing somewhere where he's wanted with players he's used to and that he'll get game time and score a few goals and enjoy himself.

"He's been out that long he has to enjoy it, and I think he is at the minute.”

Boro are also assessing the future of Patrick Roberts, who has made just three starts since returning to the club on loan from Manchester City in October.

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“He trained well yesterday,” said Warnock when asked about Roberts. “We have had a chat, so we’ll just have to see what develops now. You never really know with January what’s going to come out of the woodwork.”

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