JONATHAN WOODGATE has admitted there is unlikely to be decisions made on Middlesbrough’s seven expiring contracts until later this season – running the risk of losing players for nothing in the summer.

It has emerged midfielder Adam Clayton is among the sizeable group of experienced first team players whose deals have entered their final year, increasing the uncertainty surrounding their position.

Middlesbrough have confirmed Clayton is one of those, along with Jonny Howson, Daniel Ayala, George Friend, Ryan Shotton, Rudy Gestede and Marvin Johnson, and there is no rush to get things sorted.

It is a pretty strong change of approach from Middlesbrough, who have rarely got to this stage with so many regulars’ contracts running down.

Woodgate admits he will not have complete control over who stays, even if he will have a big opinion on it. The Middlesbrough head coach wants to see improvements across the board from all of his team before he can start to think about fighting their corner for contracts.

“It’s going to be interesting, isn’t it?” said Woodgate. “We’ll wait for the time being. We’ve got until the end of the season.

“Some players are doing OK, some need to improve, but I’ll cross that bridge later on and we’ll make a decision. It won’t all be my decision of course but I’ll have a good say on it.”

Head of recruitment operations Adrian Bevington and chief executive Neil Bausor will be the men heading up the contract decisions along with Woodgate. Actions could be financially led, with Middlesbrough looking unlikely to be involved in a promotion push so another campaign outside the Premier League beckons.

Lewis Wing will still have a further two years to run on his contract having been rewarded with his terms after last season’s impressive first year playing at that level.

The 24-year-old is back in the manager’s thinking for this Saturday’s visit of leaders West Bromwich Albion to the Riverside Stadium after lifting Middlesbrough during his second half substitute appearance at Birmingham a fortnight ago.

Woodgate thinks it is understandable Wing’s levels can dip given the progress he has made in a short space of time. He only left Shildon, in the Northern League, a little more than two years ago.

Woodgate, after witnessing a wonderful strike from the 24-year-old in training this week that has hit social media, said: “You’ve got to think about Wingy, where has he come from? He’s come from stacking shelves a couple of years ago.

“He’s had this season last season where he was the bee’s knees and he’s had his first little setback. It’s got to be tough for him. I don’t think he’s been our worst player. It’s just because last season he was fantastic and this season he hasn’t quite hit those highs. He’ll get back to that. I’m 100 per cent confident in Lewis Wing, I rate him as a footballer, he’s an outstanding talent.”

Woodgate suggested Wing could play in a withdrawn midfield role, where he was introduced for the more defensively minded Clayton at Birmingham.