NEIL WARNOCK is confident Patrick Roberts will be far more effective as part of the current Middlesbrough team than during his last season’s loan spell at the Riverside.

Roberts’ return on a season-long loan from Manchester City is set to be confirmed later today, with the forward having agreed to sign up for a second stint on Teesside.

He made ten Championship appearances in the second half of last season, scoring one goal, but his attempts to make more of an impact were severely hampered by the serious hamstring injury that kept him on the sidelines for the best part of five months.

Warnock admits the 23-year-old was somewhat inconsistent last term, but having pushed hard to secure his return, he expects Roberts to be a much different proposition this time around.

“I had a good chat with Patrick (on Friday) and he’s looking forward to it,” said the Boro boss, who expects to use Roberts as a wide player and a ‘number ten’. “If he gets his head up and his confidence up, he can be a really good player.

“I think he’s coming into a different team to the one he played in last year. I do believe we’re a different team to what we were last year, and I think he’ll get more good balls and opportunities in areas where he’s dangerous. That’s how I see him.”

Roberts’ return will be Boro’s main piece of business in the remainder of the transfer window. The deadline for international deals and permanent transfers involving Premier League clubs is 11pm today, but clubs in the Championship can still loan players from teams in the top-flight until October 16.

There is a chance Boro could look to complete another loan signing next week in order to flesh out their squad, but Warnock remains extremely reluctant to spend too much money with so much uncertainty over when, or even if, fans will be able to return this season.

“I don’t feel like we should be spending stupid money,” he said. “I’m sure Steve (Gibson) feels as though that’s music to his ears, but when there’s no money coming in and no fans coming in, I think we’ve got to be a bit responsible really. It may mean that some of my players are going to play in different positions, but why not?

“If I was in a different position, there’s probably a couple of areas where I would want a bit more quality to try to get up there, because I do think the league is wide open this year, but what we’ve got, we’ve got. We’ve just got to do our best with what we’ve got, but I do think we’ve got a good group of lads.

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