'We'll be a real force' - Isaiah Jones sends a warning to Middlesbrough's Championship rivals

Emmanuel Latte Lath of Middlesbrough celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammate Isaiah Jones
Emmanuel Latte Lath of Middlesbrough celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammate Isaiah Jones -Credit:Getty Images

Isaiah Jones has sent a warning to Middlesbrough's Championship promotion rivals next season, believing they will be a real force in the new campaign.

Boro ultimately missed out on a top-six finish this term, with the overhaul of their squad last summer and then crippling injuries throughout the campaign the two biggest factors behind what was largely a disappointing season after hopes were raised following a positive run to reaching the play-offs in Michael Carrick's first season.

For Jones individually, however, this term was a far happier one after overcoming his well-documented mental health struggles to refind his love for the game. That, in turn, led to much improved form for him this season and he played a big role in a strong end to the season that saw Carrick's side lose just one of their last 12 games.

READ MORE: The Middlesbrough games this season that encapsulate newfound hopes for Michael Carrick's side

Ending the campaign in promotion form, and with a striker in Emmanuel Latte Lath scoring at a rate better than a goal every other game, there is plenty of optimism for Boro heading into next season. And that's matched by ambition within the club, with Carrick clear in his goal to achieve promotion back to the Premier League next year.

Looking ahead to next season after recently signing a new longer-term contract at the club, Jones said: “Once we have a fully-fit team again, and maybe a couple of new signings, then I think we’ll be a real force next season. We wanted to be this season, but certain things have just taken their toll.

"The amount of injuries we’ve had to deal with is not normal. Hopefully next season, when everyone’s fully fit and we’ve recharged in the summer, then we can push for automatic promotion and you never know what can happen."

While Jones and his team-mates are currently enjoying their summer break in order to recuperate ahead of next season, club officials are plotting the summer transfer business that they hope will help fire the club to promotion next season.

Having missed out on the top six this term by just four points despite an injury-hit campaign that saw them missing an average of 6.5 players per game, the priority this summer is on adding quality in key identified areas to supplement a squad that grew together a lot over the course of this season.

Boro are also hoping to keep their key players this summer while anticipating some interest from elsewhere. Added to the fact that Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton Town will be the sides coming down this summer weakening the field on paper in comparison to last year when Leicester City, Southampton and Leeds United came down, there is real hope on Teesside that next year could be a real opportunity.