JONATHAN WOODGATE could make his third appearance in a week for Middlesbrough today – but playing for his hometown club next season is another thing entirely.
Woodgate and his Boro team-mates lock horns with Bournemouth in another massive Championship summit meeting today, with the veteran defender being monitored ahead of head coach Aitor Karanka deciding whether to involve him on the south coast.
The 35-year-old ex-England international may have been on the periphery this term, but has stood up when it has mattered, rolling back the years to deliver two outstanding performances in this week’s wins over Ipswich and Derby.
Given his well-documented injury and fitness travails, it remains to be seen if Woodgate – who contemplated retiring earlier this season – manages a third outing in seven days.
On Woodgate, out of contract this summer, Karanka said: “I’ve been speaking with him for a year and a half every single day.
“Both of us know that the best thing is to manage it day by day, because we can forget that five months ago he was thinking about retiring.
“We need to finish this season and then, at the end, Woody can do whatever he wants because for me he’s an amazing player and an amazing man.
“I think he feels it’s difficult for him to stay for one more year, but I can’t say anything because maybe he plays for the next eight games and is very important for us in the promotion race, and he’s fit for next season.
“Woody is Middlesbrough. More than me, Woody is a legend, more than a legend because he is showing everybody – especially in the last two or three games –that he lives for this club and he’s the perfect person to work here.”