Sources: Middlesbrough lead Blackburn in Ruddock chase after he quits Luton Town
Middlesbrough lead Blackburn Rovers in the race to sign Pelly Ruddock after his Luton Town exit, Football Insider understands.
The midfielder, 27, headed out of Kenilworth Road when his contract expired at the end of last month.
A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Middlesbrough are working on a deal for Ruddock and are the current frontrunners.
They face competition from Championship rivals Blackburn, who are also in the market for a defensive midfielder.
Ruddock has been targeted by many second-tier sides and he was on the radar of West Brom, Norwich City and Swansea City in January.
His decision not to extend with Luton has opened the door to a move ahead of the new season.
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Ruddock had been the Hatters’ longest-serving player, with 295 appearances in eight seasons before his exit.
In that time, he played an integral role in three promotions, from the Conference to the Championship.
Last season, Ruddock made 38 league starts among 46 appearances in all competitions for Luton.
He operated mainly as a midfield anchorman but can also play higher up the pitch as well as out wide.
The versatile midfielder joined Luton from West Ham in November 2013, initially on loan before making the switch permanent in the January window.
He made one senior appearance during his time with the Hammers, playing the full 90 minutes as a centre-back in a 2-0 League Cup victory over Burnley in October 2013.
He earned his first international call-up in May when he was selected for DR Congo.