NEIL WARNOCK is meeting Adam Clayton this afternoon to try to persuade the midfielder to be part of Middlesbrough’s squad for their final game of the season at Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow.

Clayton’s contract expired in June, and while the 31-year-old has signed a short-term waiver enabling him to play to the end of the season, he was told he did not have to report for Saturday’s home game with Cardiff.

Warnock cited a “family commitment” as a reason for Clayton’s no-show at the weekend, but with Jonny Howson unavailable for tomorrow’s trip to Hillsborough after his dismissal against Cardiff, the Boro boss would like to have Clayton in his squad.

The pair are due to meet this afternoon to discuss the situation, with Warnock hoping Clayton will be among the substitutes at Sheffield Wednesday.

“I will speak to Adam,” confirmed Warnock. “At the moment, he wasn’t available, but I’m going to speak to him later on today about that. Do I want him in the squad? Yeah.”

Howson’s suspension means Warnock will have to reshuffle his midfield, with Paddy McNair and Lewis Wing both options for a starting spot.

Howson picked up his second booking in the 89th minute at the weekend, and Warnock is still frustrated at the manner of the veteran’s dismissal.

“He’s been Mr Reliable since I’ve been here,” he said. “As he came past me on Saturday, I said how disappointed I was with him because it was reckless, there was no need for it.

“But now I’ve got to decide who’s going to play in there, and how we’re going to play. We’ve been looking at everything, and I’m sure Kevin (Blackwell), Ron (Jepson) and I will come up with a solution of what we think is the best way forward.”