Bristol Rovers striker Jonson Clarke-Harris is set to hold talks over a new contract with the League One side amid interest from Middlesbrough, according to the Bristol Post.
Boro are said to be among a clutch of sides monitoring the 25-year-old’s situation at the Memorial Stadium, where his contract currently runs until the summer of 2021.
Middlesbrough have begun the Championship campaign with two wins from 10 games under Jonathan Woodgate and hold one of the worst attacks in the division with 10 goals scored.
The Teesside outfit also needed an own goal by Darnell Fisher to take a point against Preston North End on Tuesday night, when only three of Boro’s 14 shots forced Declan Rudd into action, as per WhoScored data.
Clarke-Harris, meanwhile, is thriving in the third-tier with seven goals in ten appearances, along with one in two Carabao Cup outings and three Man of the Match worthy performances, after his goals ensured Bristol Rovers beat Oxford and AFC Wimbledon and held Accrington Stanley to a draw.
His displays caught the eye of Rovers President Wael Al Qadi, who recently observed four fixtures during a two-week trip from Jordan, and is keen to reward Clarke-Harris with a new contract, as his current terms do not reflect his status.
Bristol Rovers are expected to hold talks with the Coventry product they signed in January later this week, and both sides are claimed to be optimistic that an agreement can be reached.
The Leicester-born striker is expected to become Rovers’ highest-paid player, although one club figure is concerned about the financial impact the new deal would cause.
Failing to agree on a deal would come as a bonus for Middlesbrough, who have joined Reading and Preston in declaring their interest in the 25-year-old formerly of Peterborough and Rotherham.
Hull City also sounded out a move in the summer but saw an offer of £450,000 waved away, as Bristol Rovers value Clarke-Harris substantially higher.
There is always a risk in signing prolific League One strikers in the hopes of seeing them deliver in the Championship, but Middlesbrough will need to address their lack of goals in January if Woodgate is not able to get his weapons firing on all cylinders before the market opens.
Tony Pulis was hamstrung by a lack of goals last term as he attempted to guide the Riverside outfit back into the Premier League, with Boro hitting the fifth-lowest goal tally before the end of 2018 and only improving to the sixth-worst between February 1 and the end of the campaign.
Has Jonathan Woodgate got what it takes?
Middlesbrough fans, would you like to see your club make a move for a striker with nine goals in 57 Championship appearances? Let us know in the comments below…
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