MIDDLESBROUGH are close to re-signing Patrick Roberts, with Neil Warnock hoping the forward’s loan return from Manchester City will be completed in the next few days.

Roberts spent the second half of last season on loan at the Riverside, but was unable to make much of an impact as a serious hamstring injury restricted him to just eight league starts last term.

He has been told he does not form part of Pep Guardiola’s first-team plans at Manchester City, and has agreed to return to Teesside, with the technicalities of another season-long loan set to be completed at the start of next week.

“The paperwork with Patrick Roberts isn’t quite done, but hopefully we’ll have him on board for the next game,” said Warnock.

“It will just give us something different. I thought he had some good games for us last season, and I thought he had some mediocre games too. The thing is, he’s not going anywhere else.

“I think Manchester City have made that clear to him, so once many again, it’s up to me to get the best out of him.

“He might not start every game, but we’ve got so many games coming up and we only had 18 players today so we are very thin.”

Warnock celebrated his 1,500th game as a league manager with a win this afternoon, with goals from Jonny Howson and Chuba Akpom securing a 2-1 win over Barnsley.

Warnock reached the milestone 33 years after his first game as a Football League manager ended with his Scarborough side drawing 2-2 with Wolves.

“I do feel it’s quite a good achievement to get to 1,500 games, especially in the modern day,” said the Boro boss, who was back in the dug-out after recovering from Covid-19.

“I enjoyed today. I thought the lads played some good stuff. I thought we could have scored some more goals, but we’ve done ever so well this season. When you look at the quality we’ve played against in the first four games, we’ve hardly conceded any chances at all.

“It’s great to get that three points off your back at home. Apparently we hadn’t won here (in the league) since Boxing Day – I think I was fishing then!

“It still feels as enjoyable as ever to win, although the thing with 1,500 games is that when you get to my age, you don’t really remember anything other than last week.

“I feel really elated and I’ll sleep well tonight. It’s a great game. We haven’t got to forget about this horrible disease, but the game of football is so important. Hopefully, we’ll have given the fans something to smile about with this game.”