MIDDLESBROUGH’S summer rebuilding project remains on track, with Neil Warnock having held discussions with four or five potential targets as he looks to improve his squad.

At the end of last season, Warnock, who is looking to sign three new forwards as well as a couple of midfielders this summer, spoke about his desire to make some early signings.

Goalkeeper Joe Lumley has arrived as a free agent after turning down the offer of a new deal at QPR, but Boro missed out on one of their early attacking targets when James Collins spurned their advances in order to join Cardiff City.

Collins’ decision to move to South Wales was a blow, but Warnock has spent the last week or so pursuing alternative options in the forward positions.

The Boro boss has been based at his family home in Cornwall, but has been in regular contact with the club’s hierarchy as well as his long-term assistants Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson. He has spoken to four or five players and their representatives, and is understood to be reasonably optimistic that a number of his discussions will result in a deal.

While Boro’s transfer budget this summer will be limited, Warnock remains confident he will be able to improve his squad with the funds at his disposal.

Boro’s recruitment team have been assessing players based both at home and abroad over the course of the last 12 months, but Warnock, who has been heavily linked with Rotherham United striker Michael Smith and out-of-contract winger Junior Hoilett, has made no attempt to hide his preference for signings who already have experience of English football, preferably in the Championship.

He has also consistently ruled out selling either Dael Fry or Marcus Tavernier this summer, with Steve Gibson equally adamant that key players will not be leaving.