MIDDLESBROUGH are set to sign England Under-21 international Jack Harrison on loan for the remainder of the season.

Harrison is expected to complete a permanent move from MLS side New York City to Premier League leaders Manchester City in the next 24 hours, with the two clubs boasting the same Abu Dhabi-based owners.

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However, while Manchester City are keen to become the registered owners of the 21-year-old, their manager, Pep Guardiola, does not feel he is ready for a regular place in the Premier League.

Middlesbrough have been aware of Harrison’s position for a number of weeks, and have persuaded City officials to loan him to the Riverside for the final four months of the season.

There are still a couple of aspects of the deal that have to be finalised, and Harrison will not be available for Boro’s Championship home game with Sheffield Wednesday this evening. His transfer should be completed ahead of tomorrow night’s deadline though, and he could make his Boro debut in Saturday’s game at Norwich City.

A former member of Liverpool and Manchester United’s academies, Harrison moved to the United States at the age of 14 and was named National Player of the Year in US high school soccer during his first full year in Massachusetts.

He joined New York City after he was selected as the number one pick in the 2016 MLS draft, and was shortlisted for the MLS Rookie of the Year award in his first professional season.

An attacking midfielder with an eye for a goal, he was fast-tracked into the England Under-21 set-up last autumn, and made his debut for Aidy Boothroyd’s side as a second-half substitute as England beat Scotland 3-1 at the Riverside.

He will provide some attacking thrust to the Boro midfield in the remainder of the season, with Tony Pulis having been keen to add some extra creativity in the central area. Having already allowed Adam Forshaw to leave in a £4.5m move to Leeds United, Pulis is also expected to cut short Lewis Baker’s loan deal from Chelsea in the next 24 hours.

Pulis was offered the chance to make a couple of permanent additions this month, with Boro chairman Steve Gibson having been willing to support his new manager in the transfer market. However, Boro’s new manager has consistently argued that he would rather just make loan signings this month, and Harrison could be joined by one more addition ahead of tomorrow night’s deadline.

Boro inquired about Everton midfielder Mo Besic earlier this month, but opted to look elsewhere when they did not receive an indication that a deal was possible.

It remains to be seen whether there are further departures before the transfer window swings shut, but Bordeaux have not returned with a firm offer for Martin Braithwaite and the Denmark international is now expected to remain on Teesside until at least the end of the season.

Similarly, while Adam Clayton and Ashley Fletcher have been the subject of loan interest in the last few weeks, the Boro hierarchy remain adamant that no one will be leaving on a temporary basis this month.  If anyone wants Fletcher, they will have to pay the £6.5m that Boro shelled out to sign the striker from West Ham in the summer.

The Teessiders return to action against Sheffield Wednesday this evening looking to move on from the disappointment of Saturday’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Brighton.

Daniel Ayala is set to miss tonight’s game after sustaining a groin injury at the weekend, with Pulis expected to name Dael Fry alongside Ben Gibson. An alternative would be to move Ryan Shotton to centre-half with Cyrus Christie lining up at right-back, but Shotton has performed impressively on the right-hand side in the last few games and Pulis will be understandably reluctant to move him.

A win this evening would see Boro move back to within a point of the play-off places, and while they might have lost on their last two outings at the Riverside, Ben Gibson remains adamant they are moving in the right direction.

“We’ve had some decent performances, and that’s where we should be,” said Gibson. “We are building momentum. We’ve had a couple of daft defeats, but in the last month, we have been excellent.

“The new manager demands high standards, but everyone is relishing that. In the Villa game, we were really good and unlucky, and the same in the Fulham game too. We just got punished by late goals, but we will put that right on Tuesday.”

Middlesbrough Under-23s suffered a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa yesterday afternoon, with their opponents moving to the top of the Premier League 2 table.

Middlesbrough (probable, 4-2-3-1): Randolph; Shotton, Fry, Gibson, Friend; Leadbitter, Howson; Traore, Downing, Bamford; Assombalonga.