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Middlesbrough in 1m play-off gamble over Gary O'Neil

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15 Apr 2010 11:18:39

Middlesbrough in 1m play-off gamble over Gary O'Neil

Middlesbrough will risk their Premier League promotion hopes by refusing to play key midfielder Gary O'Neil over a payment dispute with cash-strapped Portsmouth. Gamble: Boro will not risk playing midfielder O'Neil The relegated Premier League club are in line to receive a £1million windfall should former star O'Neil make his 100th appearance for Boro, with his next game triggering an expensive clause from his £5m move from Fratton Park in 2007. Funds are vital to ensuring the south coast club's future and the club's administrators have reportedly refused to accept Boro's reduced offering of £500,000. Just four points adrift of the Championship play-off zone with three games left, Boro face a must-win visit to promotion hopefuls West Brom this weekend - without O'Neil, despite saying last week they would honour all payments for the player. Boss Gordon Strachan condedes it would be a major loss for his side but is confident a deal can be struck to play the £4m Stoke City target at The Hawthorns as Pompey hold firm on the initial agreement between the two clubs.   'It's frustrating because Gary's one of the best players in this league and he's desperate to play,' said Strachan. 'We're still talking to Portsmouth and hope to play him at West Brom on Saturday. We've won a couple of games without him, but we're better when he's in the team.'  Middlesbrough promise to cough up £1m to Portsmouth for Gary O'NeilWigan 0 Portsmouth 0: Lowly Latics fail to see off Grant's patched-up PompeyPORTSMOUTH FC


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