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Bates thrilled with Middlesbrough comeback

Middlesbrough fullback Matthew Bates was delighted with his comeback in this week's reserves clash with Newcastle United.

Bates is back after eight months with a knee injury and the fullback told the Evening Gazette: "It's good to be back. I had 30 minutes in a behind closed doors game last week and now another 45 minutes for the reserves.

"It was always going to be 45 last night but I felt fresh and I would have been happy to stay on after half-time.

"I enjoyed the game. I tried to get forward as often as possible.

"I'm a centre-back but I was happy to play right-back. There are possible opportunities in the first team at right-back at the moment and so it has given me a target to aim for. I want to get involved again and push for my place."

Bates has been in full training for a month now, and added: "I've come through the bit where you are thinking about your knee.

"My body is 100 per cent again, but maybe my lungs are only 70 or 80 per cent, and that's why I need a few more games.

"It won't be easy with the reserves playing every other week, but I have to keep going in training as well."

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