Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock is reportedly ready to deny former club Cardiff City in the race for Luton Town striker James Collins.

According to the Daily Mail, Boro are leading the race for the Irish striker, who's a free agent this summer and is believed to be weighing up his options.

Cardiff and Bristol City are among the other Championship sides seemingly monitoring the situation, but Warnock is ready to leave them empty-handed.

Collins has been a huge hit for the Hatters since arriving from Crawley town back in 2017, having played a significant role in their rise from League Two to the Championship, netting an impressive 72 goals in 181 appearances.

That record, combined with the player's contract status, has alerted admirers in the Championship, many of whom are unlikely to be splashing the cash this summer.

Cardiff are in the market for forward options this summer, and have already been linked with the likes of Jonson Clarke-Harris and Jordan Rhodes among others.

Bluebirds chairman Mehmet Dalman has confirmed that the wheels are already in motion in terms of the club's transfer plans, and that several targets have already been identified.

An offer for one player, Dalman says, has even been accepted.

"We have identified three or four targets. A couple of offers have gone out - I believe one was accepted - but we'll see what happens," said Dalman .

"It's no secret - we need to bring more quality into the team. We need a striker to support Kieffer up top, who's done a brilliant job for us; we still need a wide left, something creative in the middle - these are the minimums that we will have to consider."