MIDDLESBROUGH’S Duncan Watmore is one of four players to have been shortlisted for the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month award for December.

Watmore has made a major impact since joining Boro as a free agent in the autumn, with his performances in the last few weeks having been recognised by the EFL’s nominations committee.

The former Sunderland forward scored five goals in December – more than any other Championship player – despite only starting five games, with his other appearance in the month coming off the substitutes’ bench.

The EFL’s citation for Watmore’s nomination read: “The 26-year-old was the division’s leading scorer in the month with five goals in less than 400 minutes on the pitch. Injuries left him without a club before joining Boro in November, but his ability to convert chances is still present.”

Watmore is up against Derby County defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik, Norwich City attacking midfielder Emiliano Buendia and Brentford winger Sergi Canos for the award, with the winner due to be announced tomorrow.

The 26-year-old’s nomination comes as he approaches crunch time in terms of his future on Teesside, with his current short-term deal due to expire after the home game with Birmingham City a week on Saturday.

Watmore has been offered a new deal to remain at the Riverside, and Boro manager Neil Warnock remains optimistic he will eventually sign.

However, his representatives have been negotiating for better terms for the best part of a month now, and thus far, a successful resolution remains evasive.

Watmore is understood to have received alternative offers from elsewhere – Stoke City are one of a number of Championship clubs to have been linked with his services, while at least two clubs based overseas are also understood to have expressed a firm interest – but Boro officials remain hopeful he will agree to spend at least the remainder of the current campaign on Teesside.

Watmore spent two months without a club following his release from Sunderland in the summer, before Boro agreed to take a chance on him despite his chequered injury record on Wearside.