NEIL WARNOCK is hoping Jordan Jones’ Teesside roots will help him see off competition from a number of Championship sides to land the Rangers winger.

Having been left out of the 20-man squad for Rangers’ opening game of the SPL season at Aberdeen on Saturday, Jones is expected to leave Ibrox in the next few weeks. Steven Gerrard claimed there is still a chance of the 25-year-old returning to the first-team picture in the wake of his side’s 1-0 win at Pittodrie, but it is understood Jones has been given permission to discuss a move away from Glasgow.

Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill is keen to engineer a deal, having given Jones his international debut during his time as manager of Northern Ireland, while Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has also discussed the possibility of taking the midfielder to Ewood Park.

However, Warnock is hoping to outflank his rivals by persuading Jones to return to his roots, with Middlesbrough’s scouting team having spent the last couple of years monitoring the Teessider closely.

Redcar-born Jones spent his formative footballing years in Boro’s Rockliffe Park academy, with his solitary senior appearance for the club coming in an FA Cup tie against Hastings United in 2013.

He had loan spells at Hartlepool and Cambridge during his time on Boro’s books, but was released and joined Scottish side Kilmarnock in 2016. He moved on to Rangers last summer, but his first season at the club did not go to plan as he made just two league starts under Gerrard.

He is regarded as a talented wide-man, capable of playing as an orthodox left winger or in a wide-attacking position as part of a front three, and appeals to Warnock as a replacement for Patrick Roberts, who is not expected to return to Teesside after his loan from Manchester City expired.

He is contracted to Rangers until 2023, but will not command an especially high fee given his lack of action over the last 12 months, with sources claiming an offer of around £500,000 would probably be sufficient to persuade his current employers to agree to a deal.

Boro kicked off their summer recruitment programme on Friday when they signed former QPR skipper Grant Hall on a three-year deal.

Hall turned down the offer of a new contract at Loftus Road before agreeing to join Boro, and having worked under Warnock during the Boro’ boss spell in charge of QPR, the centre-half is confident the 71-year-old can spearhead a promotion push next season despite the Teessiders’ struggles last term.

“I’ve worked with Neil before,” said Hall, who will help strengthen a defence that has been shorn of Daniel Ayala, Ryan Shotton, George Friend and Marvin Johnson in the last few weeks. “I had him for a brief period at QPR and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I know what he’s capable of. His record speaks for itself. He’s going to bring that here next season – it was a no-brainer.

“It was a big decision, but I felt it was the right decision. It was the right time to move on. With Neil coming here, I want to be promoted. I want to go to the Premier League, and I feel I can do that here.

“I see myself as a leader and hopefully I can bring that to the team. I’m comfortable on the ball, that’s probably my best attribute, and a bit of physicality as well.”