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Middlesbrough Given Injury Boost With 29 Year Old Closing In On First Team Return

Middlesbrough striker Rudy Gestede is close to a return to the first team after playing over an hour for the Under 23s last night.

The Benin international picked up an ankle injury in the 4-3 win over Accrington Stanley in pre-season but he is gradually getting back to full fitness.

Gestede lasted 66 minutes as the Under 23s recorded a narrow 3-2 win over West Bromwich Albion. The 29-year-old was manager Tony Pulis’s first choice striker before he suffered his first ankle injury back in February.

He returned for the second leg of the Championship play-off semi-final against Aston Villa back in May, but he was unable to help his team as they lost 1-0 on aggregate.

Boro boss Pulis already has a number of striking options available to him. In addition to Britt Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite, he has on-loan West Ham striker Jordan Hugill, as well as Ashley Fletcher who scored in the Under 23s win over the Baggies yesterday.