FORMER Middlesbrough keeper Ross Turnbull could be in line for a return to the club where he started his career – if Boro receive a multi-million pound bid for Jason Steele.
Boro boss Tony Mowbray will be reluctant to sell his England Under-21 stopper and it would take a significant bid to even tempt him into negotiations.
However, Turnbull has been back on Teesside since his release from Europa League champions Chelsea this summer and has been at Boro’s Rockliffe training complex this week.
Despite limited opportunities during his four-year spell at Chelsea, the 28-year-old is a top keeper and, as a free agent, would tick the boxes for Mowbray.
Steele could take the fancy of neighbouring manager Paolo Di Canio at Sunderland if, as expected, highly-rated Belgium keeper Simon Mignolet completes his move to Liverpool.
The Boro boss does not want to lose one of his prized assets, but if Steele was to express a desire to leave the club, Mowbray could use his keeper as a make-weight in a bid for former hitman Danny Graham.
Boro’s campaign to try to get out of the Championship will start against promotion rivals Leicester City on Saturday, August 3.
August is a tough month for Boro, with Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday visiting the Riverside, while a trip to Charlton is followed by an away day at FA Cup winners Wigan.
Joining Wigan in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League are QPR, who Boro play at Loftus Road on Saturday, September 28.
Mowbray’s men host Wigan on Tuesday, January 28, and QPR on Saturday, March 22.
The other team to drop down to the second tier, Reading, head to the Riverside on Sunday, December 29, before the Royals head north on Monday, April 21.
Many Boro fans will be pencilling Saturday, November 23, into their diaries for a visit to Elland Road and a hoped-for 3pm kick-off against old rivals Leeds United. The return fixture takes place on Saturday, February 22.
Supporters will not have to travel far on Boxing Day with Burnley visiting Teesside.
Boro’s campaign comes to an end away to newly-promoted Yeovil on Saturday, May 3.