NEIL WARNOCK has warned Steve Gibson he will have to make a difficult decision over Dael Fry at some stage in the future – but the Middlesbrough manager is confident his star centre-half will not be sold no matter what happens in the final few days of the transfer window.

Fry was the subject of a series of failed bids from Burnley last season, with Boro reportedly slapping a £25m price tag on the Teessider’s head after turning down a £10m offer from the Clarets.

Like a number of his team-mates, Fry’s form dipped last term, and he came into the current campaign with something of a point to prove. Any questions over his ability to progress have been well and truly answered, with Fry’s performances alongside Paddy McNair earning justifiably rave reviews.

Warnock is not aware of any fresh approaches for the 23-year-old, but he expects him to be commanding attention from the Premier League, even if he will be doing all he can to persuade Gibson not to cash in while he remains in charge.

“If you’re one of the top clubs, he’s got to be on your list,” said Warnock. “For me, he has, but I’m glad I haven’t had any phone calls. To be honest, I don’t think Steve would sell him anyway.

“I think Steve’s happy with what we have, and every time we talk about people like Dael and Tav (Marcus Tavernier), he wants to keep them all. Certainly while I’m here, that’s what I hope he does.

“I just think Dael has grown up. When I came, I feel he was a bit immature, if I’m honest. But I think he’s a man now. I think Paddy has helped him in that. He’s our leader, really and we go off him.”

Fry is making a good recovery from the facial wounds he suffered in last weekend’s home defeat to Blackburn, but Warnock will not be rushing him back into action in today’s game at Norwich unless he is absolutely convinced there will be no negative effects.

“We don’t know if he’ll play,” he said. “He’s been doing a little bit of training in the last couple of days, and his eye is an awful lot better.

“It’s going to be down to Dael really. He has been a big loss, but I won’t rush him back unless he’s ready. We’ve got another week to the next game, and he’ll definitely be alright for then.”

Warnock arranged a training-ground game with a Huddersfield Town XI yesterday to give Grant Hall and Ashley Fletcher some match practice following their respective lay-offs. The pair were due to be assessed after the game to determine their availability for today’s testing encounter with a Norwich side that have opened up a six-point gap at the top of the table.

“To win the league, you’ve got to win games when you don’t play well,” said Warnock. “And of all the teams in the league, Norwich are really the only ones that have done that on a regular basis.”

Middlesbrough (probable, 4-3-3): Bettinelli; Spence, Wood, McNair, Bola; Morsy, Howson, Saville; Watmore, Assombalonga, Johnson.