Speaking to The Northern Echo, Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock suggested the club is a better place without outgoing duo Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga.

The Middlesbrough strikers are out of contract in June and will play no further part in the season. In recent weeks they have lost their places to the likes of Chuba Akpom and Duncan Watmore and will now depart.

Assombalonga has reportedly entered talks to sign for Scottish champions Rangers, whereas Fletcher has been linked to recently relegated Sheffield United.

Manager Neil Warnock had previously spoken out about players not wanting to be at the club and them needing to ‘get out’. He also stated that there was cliques appearing in the dressing room.

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However, when asked about the decision to release the pair early, Warnock admitted he was ‘really pleased’ with how the reaction has been and how much better the club is without them.

“I had to make some really difficult decisions in this last couple of weeks, and I’m really pleased I did now,” he said.

“I think it’s like a breath of fresh air, I’m really pleased.

“There’s definitely been a change in the mood around the place. Even the music’s great now!”

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It is not known whether Warnock was referring to other players still at the club. He had also spoken out against defender Djed Spence, whereas there are question marks surrounding Hayden Coulson and his future at the club.

The absence of Fletcher and Assombalonga may see another opportunity given to 18-year-old Josh Coburn. The teenager scored on his home debut last weekend against Sheffield Wednesday and will be hoping for more chances in the first-team between now and the end of the campaign.

Middlesbrough face Luton Town this weekend away before facing Wycombe Wanderers at the Riverside on the final day.