Middlesbrough hopeful they can prevail in loan battle for Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford

HITC Sport understands that Boro are looking to return a man linked with the likes of Aston Villa and Newcastle to the Riverside Stadium.

Middlesbrough are hopeful of persuading Patrick Bamford to return to The Riverside next season, HITC Sport understands from sources close to the club.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a hugely successful spell with Boro last season, scoring 19 goals and being named Championship Player of the Year, but the campaign ended in disappointment with their play-off final defeat.

Chelsea made it clear to Bamford that despite his efforts, he would not be considered for their first-team squad this coming season and have made him available for loan once again.

Chelsea will allow Bamford to choose the club he wants to move to, but the player is keen to make sure he does not spend the best part of the season on the substitutes bench.

Norwich City, Swansea City, Aston Villa, Southampton and Newcastle are all understood to have made enquiries, but none have been able to offer the England Under-21 ace any sort of guarantees about his place in their respective starting XIs.

Boro have never lost an interest in Bamford and now the player is seriously considering returning to play in the North East, and the recent signing of Stewart Downing has shown their ambition for the new season.

Middlesbrough currently only have Kike as a forward on their books and even with Uruguay international Christian Stuani set to sign, Boro still need at least one more top-class striker. Bamford would fit the bill as they have so far been unable to strike deals for the likes of Jordan Rhodes or Daryl Murphy.

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