Middlesbrough stalemate on McCormack

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MIDDLESBROUGH are pondering a fourth bid for Leeds United star Ross McCormack – as the Elland Road club stand firm on one of their top assets.

Boro have had an improved, third offer for the Scotland forward, understood to be worth £1.5million, turned down by Leeds, who are now said to be seeking contract talks with the former Motherwell and Cardiff player despite him being just 12 months into a three-year deal – reportedly £14,000 a week – signed last summer.

The rejection will have disappointed Boro boss Tony Mowbray, looking for a striker to spark his men into life. He may try again, but time is running out, with the deadline less than a fortnight away.

Leeds are reportedly under pressure to slash their wage bill – with Michael Brown, El-Hadji Diouf and David Norris understood to be targeted for departures. If they stay, boss Brian McDermott may yet have to sacrifice McCormack.

Meanwhile, Boro keeper Jayson Leutwiler is waiting to see whether he will keep his place for Sunday’s trip to Wigan – having replaced the injured Jason Steele in last week’s 1-1 draw at home to Blackpool.

The Swiss said: “I worked really hard last year to wait for my chance and it didn’t come but it’s come this year and I’m very happy.Right now we look every day to see how Steeley is doing and if I need to play then I will.”