Middlesbrough lead three-horse race for Leeds striker Joe Gelhardt

Middlesbrough have joined the race with Wigan, Sunderland and Blackburn for the signature of Leeds striker Joe Gelhardt.

Middlesbrough are aiming to sign Gelhardt as a back-up to star striker Chuba Akpom, as manager Michael Carrick aims to continue the club's promotion push. 

Gelhardt is on the lookout for some first team football as Leeds' new club record signing, Georgino Rutter, is going to be slowly added to the mix at Elland Road.

The 20-year-old was headed back to Wigan, where he played 19 games across two seasons, but their interest seems to have simmered down lately. Sunderland and Blackburn are also in the running for his signature to boost their promotion push.  

The striker hasn't lived up to expectations this season, appearing 19 times in all competitons but failing to find the net. 

A move could be just what the striker needs to develop his overall game and to try and cement himself in Leeds' first team. The 20-year-old hasn't started consistently since his £1million summer move from Wigan in 2020. 

Gelhardt has fallen down the Leeds pecking order since Leeds' injury crisis during the 2021/22 season. He now finds himself behind the likes of Patrick Bamford, Rutter, Rodrigo and Sam Greenwood for a first team place.  

The move would be to bolster Middlesbrough's attacking options and provide a backup to Chuba Akpom who has been in great form throughout the campaign, scoring 13 goals so far. 

If Gelhardt chooses Middlesbrough, he will be the seventh attacker in their ranks. With this in mind, Wigan or Blackburn may be the more appealing option. 

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