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Middlesbrough set to sign Athletic Bilbao striker

Kike Sola can't get near the Athletic team Credit: PA

Championship side Middlesbrough are set to sign Spanish striker Kike Sola on loan for the rest of the season from Athletic Bilbao.

The former Osasuna man is out of favour at the San Mames and has only appeared five times in the league this season, without scoring a single goal.

Middlesbrough sign Man City midfielder on loan

Bruno Zuculini has never played a competitive game for City. Credit: PA

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has strengthened his midfield options with the loan signing of Bruno Zuculini from Manchester City.

Zuculini, an Argentina Under-20 international, has put pen to paper on a month-long deal with the Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls.

With Adam Forshaw out injured and Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton both just one yellow card away from suspension, Karanka has moved to add cover in the middle of the park.

Zuculini began his career in his homeland with Racing Club before joining City in the summer of 2014.

Preston and Middlebrough play out fiery goalless draw

There were a few tasty tackles flying in. Credit: PA

Middlesbrough's mission to go one better and achieve promotion from the Championship this term started with a 0-0 stalemate at newly-promoted Preston.

Boro were in competitive action for the first time since a 2-0 loss to Norwich in the play-off final and there was little evidence on this showing that Aitor Karanka's men, now shorn of striker Patrick Bamford, are better equipped to reach the top table this time around.

Aside from a Grant Leadbitter effort which flew narrowly wide and Albert Adomah almost stealing in twice in the second period, they failed to carry much attacking threat in the first game since Karanka signed a new four-year deal this week.

Chelsea youngster returns to Middlesbrough

Tomas Kalas knows all about the Riverside. Credit: PA

Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas is targetting automatic promotion to the Premier League after securing a season-long loan move to Middlesbrough.

The 22-year-old Czech Republic international, who spent the second half of last season at the Riverside Stadium, was given special permission by the Blues to join the Teessiders on their pre-season training trip to Marbella, where he put pen to paper on Friday morning.

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Woodgate comes out of retirement for Middlesbrough

Jonathan Woodgate is back at the Riverside. Credit: PA

Former England defender Jonathan Woodgate has shelved his retirement plans to sign a new 12-month contract at Middlesbrough.

Woodgate had looked set to end his playing days but Boro boss Aitor Karanka has convinced him to extend his career after the club lost new signing Alex Baptiste to a broken leg.

Woody will be important in the changing room.

I really appreciated his reaction after hearing of Alex Baptiste’s injury last week, and he is ready to come back.

He knows his role will be a bit different. He wants to come here to help us get promotion.

I said last season and I’ll say it again, he can be very important because he is a good person and a good lad.

He was thinking about retiring 10 months ago and now he wants to help us. We are close to being a family here, and we’re pleased to say ‘welcome back Woody.’

– Aitor Karanka

Middlesbrough defender breaks leg in debut

Middlesbrough defender Alex Baptiste suffered a broken leg on his debut for the club in a friendly against York.

Baptiste who recently moved to the Riverside was hurt in a challenge with a York trialist, which left him needing lengthy treatment on the pitch before being stretchered off.

Alex Baptiste was playing in his first game for Middlesbrough. Credit: PA

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka said: “This is the kind of day where I don’t want to speak about football. We are all very disappointed, and after Alex was injured, I left the game.

“Sometimes, it’s difficult for me to understand how unfair football is. One week ago, I was together with Alex in my office. Now, he is in the hospital. If the feeling from Wembley is a motivation, then we have another motivation now to dedicate it to him.

“I don’t know exactly what has happened, but it is going to be a serious injury and he will be out for a long time. I think it is a complete break, although we will have to wait and see.”

Middlesbrough close on Aston Villa veteran

Shay Given spent time on loan at the Riverside in 2014. Credit: PA

Middlesbrough are confident of bringing goalkeeper Shay Given to the Riverside from Aston Villa. The Irishman looks set be released from his contract at Villa Park, allowing the Championship side to sign him for nothing.

Given is no stranger to the club, having spent three months on loan at Middlesbrough during the 2013-14 season.

Friend wants Middlesbrough triumph for the people

Middlesbrough defender George Friend says the whole of Teesside will have played its part if his club secure promotion to the Barclays Premier League with victory over Norwich in Monday's Wembley play-off final.

Friend has made a point of immersing himself in local life since arriving from Doncaster two years ago and insists the support across the town has been a crucial factor in the club's re-emergence under Aitor Karanka.

George Friend wants to win for the people of Teeside. Credit: PA

"When I joined everything indicated that this is a Premier League club and, having lived on Teesside, I know it would mean so much to everybody.

"It is a fantastic place to live, there are great people around here and it would mean everyone getting promoted - not just those people involved with the club."

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