Report: Middlesbrough boss could leave at end of the season; Pearson linked

Middlesbrough's fight for promotion looks set to go down to the final day with the top three sides in the Championship separated only by goal difference.

The Daily Mail understands that Aitor Karanka will leave his post as Middlesbrough boss at the end of the season, regardless of whether the club gain promotion or not.

The newspaper also goes on to speculate that Nigel Pearson is being lined up as a replacement by Boro Chairman Steve Gibson.

Karanka's relationship with some of his senior players has been well documented, and he even had a mid-season sabbatical form the Riverside following a heated team meeting.

Jose Mourinho's former number two has been made favourite for the Valencia job following Gary Neville's sacking, and the hot-seat at the Mestalla would be an attractive proposition for the Spaniard.

Following a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Ipswich Town on Saturday, the Teessider's currently find themselves second in the Championship table, level on points with leaders Burnley and third-placed Brighton & Hove Albion.

Boro host the Seagulls on the final day of the season in a game that could turn out to be a promotion decider.

The North East club have won six of their last eight games, but back-to-back draws have halted their progress.

If Middlesbrough do achieve promotion to the Premier League, surely it will be too good an opportunity for Karanka to walk away from, but a return to his native Spain cannot be ruled out for obvious reasons.

Next up for Boro is a tricky trip to Birmingham City before the all important final game against Brighton at the Riverside.

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