Wheater determined to remain at Boro
MIDDLESBROUGH defender David Wheater will not be part of a summer exodus from the Riverside if he has any say in the matter. The Redcar-born centrehalf has a year to run on his current deal and fully expects to honour that contract. He accepts that victory at home to Crystal Palace tomorrow is a must if Gordon Strachan's side are to keep alive any faint hopes of sneaking in to the play-offs, but knows that the team have left themselves a mountain to climb. The manager has already signalled his intention to undertake a major recruitment drive over the summer irrespective of what division Boro find themselves in. Chris Riggott, Jeremie Alaidiere and Emanuel Pogatetz are among those approaching the end of their spell on Teesside, but Wheater is in no hurry to join the queue for the exit door. After being on the fringes of the England squad a couple of years ago Wheater continues to be monitored by Premier League clubs who this summer could test Boro's resolve to keep the Academy product. Strachan, however, believes that Wheater is capable of recapturing the form that earned him the attention of Fabio Capello and regards him as a key part of his Boro plans. But with only a year left on his current deal the club may be tempted to cash in on one of their prize assets to generate transfer funds for the manager's rebuilding programme. Wheater clarified his position when he said: I have always been clear that I wouldn't ask for a transfer, it's up to the manager or the chairman to decide if they want to keep me. If they are looking for transfer funds in the summer then it might be a different story and that it their decision. But I will not be asking for a move. I am here to stay. I have another season left on my contract and expect to be here for at least another season. Promotion was the aim at the start of the season and we still haven't given up. If we don't go up it will feel like we have failed. Recently we've shown a bit more of what you need in these games: toughness and determination. Teams were playing long balls when we were trying to play nice football and we've realised sometimes we need to play it more direct. If we don't go up this season then next season we know what it's all about. Hopefully it doesn't come to that and we get in the playoffs. It's going to be very tough. We must beat Palace this weekend and see where that leaves us. Wheater dismissed suggestions that Newcastle's imminent return to the top flight would make Boro's failure to bounce back more acute. I don't think Newcastle going up makes any difference. No one around here is interested in them,'' he admitted. They have played well all season and that is what we needed to do. All credit to them they have done their job and look like they are going back to the Premier League that's what we need to be aiming for.
Related Middlesbrough News