LEWIS O'BRIEN will be allowed to leave Nottingham Forest - but Middlesbrough's stance is unchanged on the midfielder, who won't be returning to the Riverside this summer.

Fresh reports today claim Forest have to raise £20m in sales before the end of this month to ensure they comply with financial regulations - and O'Brien is one of those who will be made available.

Forest have changed management since O'Brien's Boro loan was sanctioned last summer but the Premier League club need to trim numbers and raise cash in the coming weeks.

O'Brien has made only 17 appearances since joining the club from Huddersfield Town two summers ago. Ipswich Town have been linked with the 25-year-old, while Sheffield United are also reportedly keen.

There have also been fresh Middlesbrough links but, as previously reported by the Northern Echo, Boro have turned their attention elsewhere as they look to bolster the midfield this summer and O'Brien isn't in their thinking.

Kieran Scott, head of football at the Riverside, recently told of how O'Brien was "desperate" to make his loan spell permanent but financially that would have always been extremely difficult.


O'Brien made 23 Championship appearances on loan at Boro last season in a spell that was disrupted by a serious injury suffered early in the campaign. He returned for the final four months of the season and showed flashes of his best form.

Newly promoted Ipswich are in the market for a midfielder this summer as they prepare for life in the Premier League. Kieran McKenna wants to bolster his midfield and provide competition for Sam Morsy, Massimo Luongo and Jack Taylor.

Chris Wilder, meanwhile, is looking to revamp his Sheffield United squad on the back of their Premier League relegation. Preston North End have also been linked with O'Brien.

Boro have prioritised the capture of a midfielder this summer, with a striker and a versatile forward also on the club's wishlist.

Teenager forward Omari Forson has been linked on the back of his confirmed Manchester United exit but the 19-year-old wasn't on Boro's radar at all this summer. He was also linked with Sunderland but is now set to sign for Serie A outfit AC Monza.