JONJO SHELVEY'S immediate future lies in Liverpool's hands, as the in-demand midfielder continues to be courted by Blackpool and Middlesbrough.

The former Charlton Athletic playmaker spent a spell at Bloomfield Road this season, and it is understood that he is minded to return there should Liverpool decide to send him out on loan.

But Boro manager Tony Mowbray is in no rush to force a decision out of the Reds either way.

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Mowbray said: "I've had no further conversations about him. I think it's in the hands of his parent club.

"We will wait and see if he is allowed to go on loan.

"The boy will then look at his options and decide where he wants to go.

"He's already been at Blackpool this year and if he's comfortable in that environment and wants to go back there then that's no problem but we may be an option for him."

Boro continue their bid for promotion from the Championship with the visit to Birmingham City today and Mowbray knows that the Blues will provide a stern test.

"They bring a threat of having only lost one home game all season," said the Boro manager.

"Their team has done particularly well this year when you consider the amount of games they've had with the European football and reaching the last 16 of the FA Cup. "You've got to take your hat off to them and say they've had a really impressive season. Like us, their season will ultimately be defined by the next 11 games.

"Chris Hughton has done a fabulous job. St Andrew's is never the easiest place to go but we'll be going there aiming to take the points."

The competitive nature of the Championship ensures that as long as a team put a run together, they can make huge strides into the upper reaches of the division. Reading won six on the bounce and find themselves in second place going into today's fixtures.

With that in mind, Mowbray is relaxed about his team's chances with 11 games left of the season.

He said: "I don't think the next two or three games will decide our season. You could lose those then win the next two or three and find yourself back in contention again.

"You have seen the results over the last few weeks. Teams have been dropping points because there's that many teams in the mix and they're all taking points off each other.

"You'd have expected Reading and West Ham to beat Doncaster but they were held to draws. Likewise you would have expected Cardiff to win at home to Hull but they lost.

"There's lots of teams still in the mix. A lot of teams can beat each other.

"You've just got to look after yourself and get three points whenever you can."