JONATHAN WOODGATE will make one last push to land Ben Gibson before the transfer deadline as Middlesbrough look to bring in two more new faces within the next 24 hours.

The Boro boss, rocked by news that exciting loan signing Patrick Roberts will be out for the next two months with a hamstring problem, wants to follow up news that Marcus Tavernier has signed a new contract by welcoming Gibson back at the Riverside Stadium.

Gibson is also keen to return to Teesside but Watford’s interest in taking him to Vicarage Road has clouded the situation, given the Premier League Hornets are in position to contribute more than Middlesbrough towards his top-flight wages.

That is why Middlesbrough also have other defensive targets such as Leicester City’s Filip Benkovic in mind, and discussions are continuing aimed at ensuring Middlesbrough bring in the extra man required.

Celtic, Derby County and Bristol City are all keen on Benkovic, so the battle is on to get either the signature of the Croatian or Gibson to boost Middlesbrough’s defensive options. Woodgate, who claims there are others in mind, said: “There’s 48 hours to go, let’s see.”

Clearly at the back Middlesbrough have had issues this season, but George Friend and Ryan Shotton have restarted full training and will play for the Under-23s on Sunday ahead of a first team return in the next couple of weeks.

But Woodgate also wants to strengthen his team’s attacking ranks following the hamstring injury sustained by Patrick Roberts which is threatening to keep him out until April.

The Middlesbrough head coach says that situation has changed his thinking ahead of the transfer deadline on Friday night, but he has ruled out a move for Rangers winger Jordan Jones.

“Hopefully maybe a couple will come in,” said Woodgate. “Nothing (on Ben), let’s wait and see what the next couple of days brings. There are a few others, no names and I am under strict orders not to say. It’s no problem if we don’t bring more in, we all know where we are short, but I am sure we will do something.”

Woodgate has been linked with Shrewsbury’s former Hartlepool midfielder Josh Laurent and Livingston striker Lyndon Dykes within the last couple of days, while he was “not sure” if there would be any outgoings.

As well as the work going on behind-the-scenes on the transfer front, Middlesbrough are also looking to get a number of players tied down to new deals – particularly their younger prospects.

England Under-20 international Tavernier became the latest to pledge his future to the club by signing a new three-and-half-year deal yesterday.

The 20-year-old has caught the eye of Premier League and European clubs in the last 18 months.

Woodgate said: “I’m over the moon Tav has signed a new contract. He was a player I was keen to get tied up as soon as we could because of what he brings to the team.

“He’s had a good run of games this season and I think people can now see what he’s about.

“What he’s got to do now is keep working, and he’s got to keep improving. I don’t want people standing still, I want them hungry to improve all the time.”

The more experienced Jonny Howson is one of those out of contract in the summer and his performances this season have made him a player Middlesbrough are keen to retain.

There will be no shortage of interest in him from the Championship and Howson said last month that he was unclear what the future holds because he was aware the club was looking to cut the wage bill.

Woodgate said: “Let’s see, I think Jonny Howson will be here. I’m confident Jonny will stay.”

The Middlesbrough boss was more tight-lipped on the rest of the deals, although he did hint progress has been made on tying down youngsters Aynsley Pears and Djed Spence.

“Really, really close,” he said, before being asked if there would be news this week. “Not sure yet, but they’ve all got 18months left. It will be nice to secure their futures, they are good players, good young players.”

Middlesbrough do have striker Britt Assombalonga fit and available again to face Blackburn on Saturday, which does help following the news that on loan Roberts will be out of action for a couple of months.

But Woodgate is still looking to strengthen his attacking ranks, which could then lead to him listening to loan offers in the final stages of the window for players such as Stephen Walker.

“Nothing is close at the minute,” he said. “It can change, it depends who comes in and who goes out. Not at the minute (bids), that can change too.”