WHATEVER happens when Tony Pulis discusses his future with chairman Steve Gibson this week, the Middlesbrough manager insists the club must no longer pay-over-the-odds to attract players to Teesside.

The Boro boss has made it quite clear in recent months that there has been a drive to reduce costs after a period of higher-spending before this season, and has claimed they are in better shape financially ahead of another year in the Championship.

Confirmation Middlesbrough will not be playing in the play-offs this month arrived despite beating Rotherham on the final day, with Derby County doing what was required to stay ahead by doing what was required against West Brom.

Now Gibson will have to come up with a way forward for this summer and beyond, knowing the parachute payments following relegation from the Premier League will stop now.

It means there will be less money around to invest in the squad, although Pulis feels Middlesbrough must come up with a way to sign players without using money as the persuasive power because he thinks it is a fantastic club to be involved with regardless.

The Middlesbrough manager said: “A personal view? We’re disappointed obviously that we’ve not got a chance of playing Leeds over two games, that’s not there now so we have to move on.

“I think the great thing for the club is that, especially over the 18 months, we’ve seen young players emerge. To have a football club where – and it’s something I’ll speak to Steve about - there’s almost this fact we have to pay players more because it’s Middlesbrough, and they have to come up to the North-East, I find it astonishing.

“It's a great club, a fantastic area, the people are wonderful and the bottom line is they should be coming up for the football not because they are getting more money than anywhere else. The whole ethos of the football club in that respect has got to change. They've got to understand that.”

Pulis has spent money on players during his time at Middlesbrough, with Paddy McNair (£5m), George Saville (£7m) and Aden Flint (£7m) brought in. He rightly argues, though, that he has moved plenty of players on too, with Adama Traore (£18m) and Ben Gibson (£15m) the two main departures.

But this season has seen Lewis Wing, Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier emerge more prominently on to the first team stage and Pulis thinks those provide a sign of where Middlesbrough should be looking to develop.

“Lewis Wing, Tav, Dael Fry, three youngsters who have really pushed on this year, that's been a great boost for everybody at the football club,” said Pulis.

“Especially in the academy because it's a fantastic academy, there's some good players. We had Djed Spence on the bench at Rotherham, we've had Connor (Malley) on the bench (as the 19th man), Nathan Wood would have been on the bench but he's hurt his knee and that's a sixth defender who's gone down. There's been a lot of positives.”

Pulis has provided no hints as to whether he will be staying on beyond his contract, that is due to expire on June 30 and has an option of extending it. He is due to discuss the situation with Gibson, who he has a good relationship with, in the first half of this week.

Automatic promotion was the aim this season, in his first full campaign as manager, but as the season has wore on it has become clearer that the squad was not equipped to deliver that in the style of play the manager wanted.

He said: “If you look at the injuries, to lose four defenders in the space of time we lost them was horrendous. To have six games where, in four of those games we should have taken points – but the wind just wasn't blowing our way.

“That's the bottom line. People will say it's bad play because we never took the chances but there are examples, like the one that comes off the bar from Jonny Howson, hits the lad on the face and hits the bar, comes back out and hits the post and runs across the face of the goal … “If you look at it, that's the difference if you look at it. And Leeds scoring in the 110th minute against us. That's been the difference, fine lines. But they've really, really worked hard and, as I say, to win five of the last six games is great credit to them.”

He added: “Reflections? You look at it and I said to them after the Rotherham game, with what we've done off the field trying to rectify the finances, in some ways it's as good as an achievement as anything when you look at the clubs who have spent enormous amounts of money who are not even close to the play-offs. The players have got to take a lot of pride.”

Middlesbrough managed to get the victory at Rotherham they needed and for half an hour, when Derby were level with West Brom, it looked like they might sneak back in on the final day.

Pulis said: “I thought we played really well first half and once again it's another half where once again we should have come in with a few more goals. Second half was a rollercoaster because of the crowd. West Brom scoring early (in the second half) comes through and then with Derby scoring the Rotherham supporters (respond) and I think that certainly affected the flow of the game psychologically.

“We've won five out of the last six games. We had a poor performance at Forest but the rest of the time they've really dug in and taken it to the last couple of minutes."