BEN Gibson is being linked with a move back to Middlesbrough just two years after joining Burnley for a joint club record £15million.

Neil Warnock, who will remain as Boro boss until the end of next season, is said to be interested in bringing the central defender back to his hometown club.

The 71-year-old replaced Jonathan Woodgate a month ago and steered Boro away from relegation and now he is looking to build a squad to challenge at the top end of the Championship.

Gibson, who has made just six appearances for the Clarets since his big-money move, has not been involved with Burnley’s first-team squad since a breakdown in relations when a proposed move to Watford collapsed during the January transfer window.

Having been frozen out of the picture, Gibson spent a month-or-so before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic training with the Boro squad – with Burnley releasing a statement at the time confirming the 27-year-old had been given permission.

According to The Northern Echo, he attended a number of the club’s post-lockdown matches at the Riverside wearing official club training kit.

Whether Gibson would re-join Boro, owned by his uncle Steve, on a permanent basis or on a season-long loan remains to be seen.

Warnock won four of his eight games in charge for Boro to finish 17th and now he is aiming to take the club forward with defensive recruits near the top of his agenda.

“It’s important that it’s a lot more structured squad than it has been and there are more options, especially defensive wise,” he said.

“We’re trying to change the squad around, and we need a bit of luck because you need the new lads to settle quickly.”