7:00am Tuesday 29th April 2014
By Steph Clark
MIDDLESBROUGH striker Danny Graham admits he is uncertain where his future lies beyond the end of the season after revealing he has still not spoken to anyone at Sunderland.
Graham scored his fifth goal since rejoining Boro on loan in January as Aitor Karanka’s side closed their home account with a 3-1 win over Barnsley on Saturday.
The Gateshead-born forward jumped at the chance to return to the Riverside after enduring a difficult 12 months with the Black Cats, while the 28-year-old also struggled to make an impact in a loan spell at Hull City in the first half of the season.
Signed by Martin O’Neill, Graham failed to score in 13 games for the Wearsiders and there are suggestions that he will not figure in Gus Poyet’s plans next season.
The Black Cats, who took a big step towards Premier League safety with a 4-0 win over Cardiff on Sunday, have struggled in front of goal themselves, but regardless of which league they end up in Poyet is likely to stick with Connor Wickham and Ignacio Scocco, although there are question marks over the futures of Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher.
Fabio Borini will also return to parent club Liverpool, but while Sunderland may need to bring in attacking reinforcements in the summer, Graham, who still has two years left on his contract with the Black Cats, admits he has yet to have any contact with anyone at the Stadium of Light.
“The honest truth is I haven’t got a clue where my future lies beyond next week,” Graham admitted. “I’ve still not spoken to anyone at Sunderland and I’m just concentrating on Yeovil. Hopefully I can get a couple more goals before we go away for the summer and then we can reassess and see what everyone says and where my future lies.”
Graham has featured in every game since returning to the Riverside and having started his professional career at Boro, the former Swansea front man admits the prospect of staying on Teesside definitely appeals.
He said: “If there was an opportunity I certainly would like to stay longer. This is a club that gave me my first chance in professional football and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last couple of months, although it took us awhile to win when I first came.
“I’ve got a lot of feelings for the club and there are signs that next year could be a big season for Middlesbrough.”
Re-signing for the Teessiders will depend on whether he has done enough to convince Karanka he can lead the line, while it is almost certain Graham would have to accept a significant pay-cut with Middlesbrough unable to entertain his Premier League wages.
The 28-year-old has formed a good understanding with fellow attacker Lee Tomlin and it was the duo’s goals that ensured Boro ended their season at the Riverside on a high, relegating Barnsley to League One in the process.
A run of four consecutive games had given Boro hope of a late play-off push, but back-to-back defeats last week made it impossible and Graham admits there was a tinge of frustration after Saturday’s win.
“It’s nice to end with a goal and a win, but we feel as though we have let ourselves down in the last couple of games,” the striker said. “If we had won them you never know where we could have been after this win but it’s a good way to finish at home and hopefully we can go to Yeovil and get three points to end that will stand everyone in good stead for next season.
“The gaffer made the point after the Millwall and Reading games that we needed to be more professional. We let everyone down and certainly the people who travelled to the game. We needed a reaction and to win 3-1 is good for us. We need to take that into next week and give another solid performance.
“We’ve shown in some games that we can roll over teams. The only thing I would say is that we need to find some consistency. We win four, we lose two, we win two, we lose one. We just need to find that consistency and if we do I think we’ve got a strong-enough squad to challenge next year.”
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