NEIL WARNOCK will discuss his managerial future with Steve Gibson tomorrow – and is confident Middlesbrough can mount a promotion challenge whoever is in charge next season.

Warnock was able to celebrate another successful survival mission tonight after Boro secured their Championship safety with a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Paddy McNair cancelled out Jacob Murphy’s early opener in the first half, before Britt Assombalonga claimed a stoppage-time winner when he swept home a shot from Ashley Fletcher’s cross.

On a night that saw Hull City, Charlton Athletic and Wigan Athletic relegated – pending the latter’s appeal against their points deduction – Boro finished the season in 18th position, four points clear of the bottom three.

Attention now switches to Warnock’s future, with the 71-year-old remaining coy on his plans. Having watched the veteran boss win four of his eight matches after replacing Jonathan Woodgate, Gibson will offer him the opportunity to stay on as manager next season.

“We’ve had this meeting planned from day one,” said Warnock. “We’ve always said, ‘Let’s meet up after the last game’. I’ve definitely got things to tell Steve. He’s asked me to look at the whole club and paint a picture of what’s needed to hopefully be successful next year. I’ll be speaking to Steve, and you know what my relationship is with him, he’s a super guy.

“I feel like I can give some advice whatever. I’ve seen the lads now for eight games, and I can see where the club needs help. A club like this should be successful, it shouldn’t be down there fighting to try and stay in the league. It’s not the greatest league this year when you look at the play-offs, so they’ve got to be at the other end.

“At my age, it’s just whether you’ve got the time. I’ve definitely got the energy – I feel energised when I see the lads give me everything like this.”

Tonight’s game proved there is still plenty of fight and commitment within the Boro squad, but Warnock is fully aware of the need for major improvements this summer. If he remains in charge, his priority will be some new defenders and some added physicality and experience down the spine of the team.

“There are some good youngsters at the club, I just think we’ve got to get one or two players down the spine who are leaders really,” he said. “I think the lads have given me everything since I’ve been here, we just need a different type in the dressing room.

“I’m sure that whoever is making the decisions, Steve will support them next year. It’s a hard league the Championship, but I love it. You’ve got to be at the top end going for promotion, and there’s no reason why Middlesbrough can’t.”

As well as looking to make additions, whoever is leading Boro next season will have to make some immediate decisions on the future of some key members of the squad.

George Friend, who was outstanding at centre-half tonight, and Marvin Johnson, who has been Warnock’s first-choice left-back, have become free agents, along with Adam Clayton, who was not part of tonight’s squad despite Warnock having asked him to be involved.

“George is an incredible professional,” said Warnock. “He’s been such a help to me since day one. Not just for me, but for the club itself, his contribution over the years has been immense.

“It’s the same with Adam Clayton, over the last five years, he’s been a tremendous servant to the club. I’ve nothing but time for these guys. There are decisions to be made over the next few weeks – the club has decisions to make.”