UNWANTED Noel Whelan has revealed his determination to seal a permanent move away from Middlesbrough.

The striker has only made two Premiership starts this season under Steve McClaren and joined Crystal Palace last week on loan until the end of the current campaign.

Whelan grabbed his first goal for the Eagles on his debut at the weekend but it proved not enough as Bradford City recorded a 2-1 win.

And the 28-year-old, who signed from Coventry City for £2m in the summer of 2000, admits it is time to move away from the Riverside permanently.

"The best thing for me to leave Middlesbrough and play my football elsewhere," said Whelan, who has teamed up with former Boro full-back Curtis Fleming at Selhurst Park.

"I'd like to leave in the summer if the offer is right. If not then I'll sit my contract out and go elsewhere.

"I'd definitely consider an offer from Crystal Palace. I wouldn't have come here if I didn't think it was the right club for me and a good to place to play football.

"That's always been the first thing I've thought about."

Whenever Whelan has forced his way into the Boro side he has been unfortunate to pick up an injury.

And following the arrivals of front-men Michael Ricketts and Malcolm Christie, Whelan's Boro career always looked to be coming to an end.

But the former Leeds man has refused to criticise McClaren over his selections, and he said: "All managers have favourites and you can't do anything about it.

"I'm not the sort of person to get fazed and I know I can do my job. You have to take it on the chin. My attitude is to come in every day, do my training and see you later.

"You have to get on with it. Play them at their own game. As soon as you get wound up about it they've beaten you. You have to do your job, go home and keep your mouth shut."

Second choice Boro keeper Mark Crossley is wanted by Stoke City until the end of the season.

Crossley joined on a month's loan last week and enjoyed a superb debut when he kept a clean sheet in the goalless draw with Ipswich Town.

And Stoke boss Tony Pulis said: "It's a one month deal at the moment but he knows I want him to stay until the end of the season."

Crossley, though, is only understood to be interested in a temporary deal and would like to stay at the Riverside and be a part of McClaren's squad of the future.

Boro stars Juninho (ankle) and Franck Queudrue (knee) are still receiving treatment on their respective injuries.

Both are understood to be battling back to fitness and should be able to play at Leeds on Saturday.

* Boro youth team's FA Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City will be held at the Riverside on March 26 (7pm). The return leg will be at Maine Road on April 1.

* Former Boro winger Keith O'Neill was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning, police have confirmed.

The 27-year-old, now at Coventry City, was taken into custody 20 minutes after an incident outside a Leamington nightclub and questioned in connection with an alleged assault before being released on bail pending further inquiries.

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