MIDDLESBROUGH’S Championship fate will be decided this evening – and the future of manager Neil Warnock will also be determined in the next 48 hours as he prepares to sit down with Steve Gibson to discuss his plans.

Boro play their final game of the season at Sheffield Wednesday tonight amid a backdrop of considerable uncertainty over the Championship standings. If, as the EFL continue to insist will happen, Wigan Athletic are fined 12 points for entering administration, Boro cannot finish in the bottom three. However, if Wigan successfully appeal against their penalty, the Teessiders still need one more point to guarantee their survival.

Once their fate is known, thoughts will immediately turn to next season, and most pressingly of all, whether Warnock will remain in charge. The 71-year-old’s initial agreement with Gibson only runs to the end of the current campaign, but provided Boro remain in the Championship, it is anticipated he will be offered the opportunity to remain in his role for another 12 months.

Warnock has clearly enjoyed his brief time on Teesside, and while he will be taking on a considerable rebuilding job if he opts to extend his reign, the signs continue to point towards him agreeing to stay.

“Steve and I will get together on Thursday after the game and have a chat to throw things about,” said the veteran manager. “Whatever happens, I think I can offer quite a lot of advice behind the scenes, and that’s what I will do one way or the other.

“I came on board at the start to try and make sure we stay in the league. It’s been very, very difficult, so all we’ve really said is, ‘Let’s get to the end of the season and then talk about things’.

“Steve knows I won’t be disappointed if he decides he wants to go in a different direction - and likewise the same with me. I think we just have to sit down and talk like we’ve done ever since I’ve known him. He’s someone I’ve had a lot of time for over the years, and I’m sure we will be discussing loads of things.”

As well as discussing his own future, Warnock will also deliver his verdict on the players currently on Middlesbrough’s books. Lukas Nmecha and Patrick Roberts’ loan deals expire after this evening’s games, while George Friend, Marvin Johnson and Adam Clayton will also become free agents, with their short-term contract waivers due to end.

There is a chance the trio could be offered new contracts, but Clayton’s time appears to be up after he was excused from being involved in last weekend’s defeat to Cardiff City and Friend seemed to be saying an emotional farewell to the Riverside when he sat in the dug-out on Saturday evening.

“I’ve spoken to the powers that be and given them what I feel about everybody at the club,” said Warnock. “Not just the players who are out of contract, but the players that are in contract as well. That’s what they asked me to do - and that’s what I’ve done.

“In terms of George and Marvin, it’s been a pleasure to have lads like that, obviously giving everything they can. In the last few weeks, I’ve never seen Marvin play better, if I’m honest. Whether he’s playing to make sure he gets another club, I don’t know. But he’s definitely done his cause no harm the way he’s played. And George has contributed both on and off the field - he’s been exemplary really.”

While Clayton was excused from Saturday’s game, Warnock met the midfielder yesterday to request his involvement in the squad tonight. Boro’s midfield options have been limited by Jonny Howson’s suspension in the wake of his weekend red card.

Middlesbrough (probable, 5-4-1): Pears; Spence, Dijksteel, Fry, Friend, Johnson; Roberts, Saville, McNair, Tavernier; Fletcher.