RAVEL MORRISON has been urged to keep working on the training ground to get into Middlesbrough’s starting line-up, with Jonathan Woodgate citing Lewis Wing’s good form for keeping the loan ranger out of the relegation-threatened side.

Morrison’s arrival was perceived to be something of a gamble in January when Woodgate opted for him to bolster options in the attacking third following the hamstring injury sustained by Patrick Roberts.

And with Roberts due to return to full training on Monday the competition is set to increase for the right to play there in the final ten matches of the season.

That is exactly what Woodgate needs right now, with Boro fighting for their lives to avoid a drop into League One and he needs to come up with a way for his side to keep scoring goals after Monday’s 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

Morrison, once tipped for great things during his younger days with Manchester United, has only started twice since arriving on loan from Sheffield United, despite being well known for the creativity he has in his boots. He has not even emerged from the bench in the other four games.

Woodgate insists the reason for his absence in the last two games has been down to the performances of Wing, and he has urged Morrison to keep working on getting into the side to help Middlesbrough’s fight to beat the drop.

“He has ability, he’s done well on the training pitch,” said Woodgate. “Lewis Wing has scored seven goals this season, and Lewis is doing OK. Morrison can play No. 10 or No. 8, but Wing has scored seven goals so it is difficult to get him out of the team.

“Ravel has been brilliant, I spoke to him this morning, like I do when players are out of the team. He has been really good, his attitude in training has been second to none. I can’t get him off the training pitch really.

“When the players are off, he wants to train with the 23s. He is still learning. Just because he is 27 he knows he still needs to learn. He wants to improve in certain areas.

“I had only met him once when we signed him, he drove from Manchester and I drove down to meet him. I speak to all the signings I make after I have met them if I want them.”

Morrison in full flow would be a huge bonus to Middlesbrough going into the final ten matches, but that is the challenge facing Woodgate. The attacking midfielder has struggled to fulfil his potential at a raft of clubs, and is desperate for a break right now.

He will be due to return to Bramall Lane at the end of the season when a decision will be made about his future. Woodgate has put back any talk about future contracts until he has got Middlesbrough safe.

When asked about players’ deals which are expiring, he said: “All I’m focusing on is the Charlton game.”

And with Middlesbrough sitting a point below Charlton and occupying the final relegation place, today’s trip to the Valley is another big one.

How unthinkable would a fall into League One be? Woodgate replied: “All I’m thinking about is the Charlton game. I don’t want to answer questions on that yet and after Charlton all I’ll think about is Swansea and after Swansea all I’ll think about is Stoke.”