TONY PULIS has backed Steve Gibson’s calls for an investigation into the financial conduct of some of Middlesbrough’s Championship rivals.

A key meeting will take place next week to discuss the situation, after the Boro chairman, it is understood, wrote to the EFL asking for something to be done.

Gibson wants the conduct of Aston Villa, Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday to be examined more closely, and is calling for Football League chiefs to enforce rules and ensure sanctions are imposed on rule breakers.

In a report in The Telegraph, it is suggested Gibson feels the three clubs are attempting to bypass the new profitability and sustainability rules by unfair means.

The example used in the report is how Derby recently sold their stadium to owner Mel Morris and then leased it back, ensuring a profit was recorded in their accounts.

Middlesbrough have been careful not to overspend this season and instead have cut costs, with manager Tony Pulis regularly highlighting how much the club has saved during his 14 months in charge.

The Teessiders sold players such as Adama Traore and Ben Gibson last summer to balance the books, and Gibson is not happy with what he believes is a breach of financial regulations elsewhere in the division.  Middlesbrough are known to have voiced their frustrations at an EFL meeting held at Nottingham Forest in recent weeks.

Pulis recently indicated: "We saw Birmingham hit by a nine-point deduction for breaching the EFL's profit and sustainability rules, Bolton hit with a winding up order and reports have suggested more clubs spending way beyond their means could be facing action from the EFL.

"Some of the figures published are quite staggering. Aston Villa's operating loss for last season was £50m while the player costs of both Reading and Birmingham was quoted as being almost 250 per cent of their actual income.

"The total losses for the Championship clubs last season currently stand at £366m and with a number of other clubs still to announce their financial results it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the total figure could be in excess of half a billion pounds.

"Thankfully, here at Boro, we have an owner in Steve Gibson who will never risk the future of this football club. Steve is a committed man who lives and breathes this area. The care, attention and support he gives this club should never be under-estimated.

"Steve has worked hard to abide by the EFL financial rules but it is clear a number of other clubs haven't and that simply cannot be right. Birmingham's nine-point deduction should set a precedent now for other clubs not complying with the rules.

"Over the past year here we have brought money in through the sales of players and reducing the wages and we have cut our cloth accordingly - yet at the same time there are others in apparent breach of the rules and that cannot be right."

Gibson wants club accounts submitted to the EFL to be transparent and detailed for other clubs to review. Clubs are currently only required to submit the basics and some details can be kept confidential.

The meeting which Gibson has called for is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 24, when representatives from the division’s 24 clubs are expected to attend.

Middlesbrough are still looking to seal promotion this season and face Stoke City at the Riverside Stadium on Good Friday, knowing they sit a point behind sixth placed Bristol City.

Aston Villa sit five points above Middlesbrough in fifth spot in the rankings, while Derby are a point behind in eighth. Sheffield Wednesday are in tenth.