Aston Villa and West Ham in transfer scrap to sign keeper Darren Randolph

Keeper Darren Randolph is set to leave Middlesbrough this week with former club West Ham and Aston Villa in a race to sign the Republic of Ireland international.

Boro chief Jonathan Woodgate will let the 32-year-old leave the Riverside with Aynsley Pears impressing since taking the gloves off Randolph six weeks ago.

And back-up keeper Thomas Mejias' impressive display in the 1-1 draw against Tottenham yesterday has convinced Woodgate he has sufficient strength in depth in that department.

Randolph who is recovering from a thigh injury which has sidelined him since late-November , is understood to be keen on a return to the Hammers.

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But Villa too want sign the keeper who was voted the Championship's best by his fellow professionals last season.

Tom Heaton is out for the rest of the season and manager Dean Smith has enquired about the Irishman.

Smith is also understood to be monitoring Britt Assombalonga's situation on Teesside.

Boro's record buy finds himself behind Ashley Fletcher as Boro's main striker with the latter scoring his eighth goal of the season and fourth in five games at the weekend.

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Woodgate, meanwhile, has confirmed fringe players Marcus Browne and Marc Bola can leave on loan this month.

The pair only joined the club from West Ham and Blackpool last summer but have struggled to establish themselves.

Tottenham struggled to break down a well-organised Boro at the Riverside Stadium yesterday as the second-tier side earned a replay after a 1-1 draw.

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Woodgate had nothing but praise for his players, who went into the game on the back of four Championship wins.

Woodgate said: "Wins bring confidence and OK at times this season we've maybe been lacking that with a few of the results.

"But we've stayed with it and we haven't been that far away home and away and we've had some good performances – and again that was a really good performance."

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