Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock will be an interested spectator for Sunderland's play-off home leg later this month.

But the experienced boss wouldn't be drawn on whether he would be scouting Black Cats star striker Charlie Wyke ahead of a potential transfer swoop this summer.

Warnock has made no secret of the fact that he is in the market for goalscorers when the transfer window opens next month, and that he will not have huge sums of cash to play around with.

Boro have been linked with a move for Wyke, who has bagged 30 goals in all competition for Sunderland this season, and is crucially out of contract in the summer.

But when asked whether Wyke was on his wanted list, Warnock replied: “As if I’m going to say yes to that.

“I’m hoping to watch Sunderland in the play-offs if I’m honest, so you can speculate if I’m watching them I must be looking at him.

"But it might not be him I’m looking at. You’ll just have to speculate.

“I went up last week and they put me up in a lovely luxurious box. They looked after me. I’m a prawn sandwich man you see.

“Although I didn’t get any biscuits with my coffee. I’ll have to take my own next time.”

Much will depend on which division Sunderland are playing in next season, with Wyke expected to be fit to take part in their play-off games after missing the win at Plymouth due a thigh problem and a dental issue.

Head coach Lee Johnson will decide whether to keep him out of the firing line against Northampton on Sunday, but confirmed he will be fit to take part if needed.

"We needed to do all the research properly in terms of getting the scans done, and we did that this week," said Johnson.

Sunderland's Charlie Wyke scores the second goal against Rochdale
Charlie Wyke has scored 30 goals for Sunderland this season

"I expect him to play a part on Sunday, which is good news, and I wouldn't risk that if there was a potential problem."

Wyke will be available on a free this summer unless a new contract is signed, and that has alerted several clubs, with CSKA Moscow credited with interest as well as Middlesbrough.

Wye began his career on Teesside and could be a perfect fit for Warnock's summer rebuild, with former Sunderland forward Duncan Watmore their current top scorer with just nine goals.

Wyke's future is likely to be decided after the play-offs, and Warnock knows there will be an element of luck involved in having the kind of positive summer transfer window that he wants.

“We will need a bit of luck," he said. “Everybody will be looking for strikers in the summer and there aren’t that many around now unless you pay £10m. We haven’t got that sort of money.

“So we’re all looking in the same sort of area and I’ve got to find gems that I can turn into those type of players.

Sunderland chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus watches the Papa John's Trophy Final

There's never a normal day on Wearside when it comes to Sunderland. But the future could be a brighter one thanks to Kryil Louis-Dreyfus' investment in the club

On the pitch, head coach Lee Johnson and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman have been charged with guiding the club back into the Championship - and away from the League One salary cap.

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“I’ve got to try and pluck someone I believe I can get something out of.

“I still have a clear vision of what it is I’m looking for, and I think it is achievable.

“We’re still trying to organise a couple of scouting trips abroad too to look at players in foreign leagues. I won’t be signing anyone without myself or one of my sidekicks watching them.

“But we have to be lucky and I have to be able to convince some of these players to come to Middlesbrough over other clubs.”