Former skipper back to fitness
Former Middlesbrough skipper Matthew Bates is closing in on a return to action.
The 25 year-old has been busily training with the Boro first-team squad at Rockliffe Park for the past three weeks and is now sufficiently fit to resume playing. That follows his recent recovery from a fifth cruciate knee injury.
Stockton-born Bates isn't currently registered with the Teessiders after his latest contract ran out in the summer. But manager Tony Mowbray is well prepared to allow him to feature with their development squad.
"He's been training with us for a few weeks now and I think he needs a game," Mowbray told the Evening Gazette. "He can't just keep training, he needs to play. I've discussed some options with him.
"He might have interest elsewhere but there is a potential for him to play some football and it may be an option to play for our under-21s."