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Middlesbrough set to field Afonso Alves in derby

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate hopes to give record signing Afonso Alves a debut in Sunday's derby against Newcastle United.

Southgate is hoping the necessary paperwork will be completed in time for the £12m Brazilian to take his place in the Boro squad at St James' Park.

He told the Evening Gazette: "There is still a bit of work to do with Heerenveen but we expect this to be completed before the appeal hearing.

"Alves has already started his medicals and these will also be completed shortly.

"We obviously believe that we have a strong case and the appeal will be successful.

"Alves is very keen to come here. He will give us something different and he will provide competition up front."

Alves, who watched last night's victory against Wigan from the directors' box, is set to return to Holland to sort out his personal affairs while Boro go through the work permit appeal process.

He will return on Friday to start the derby build-up.

There are no problems over Alves' fitness and it is the availability of the other Boro strikers which will decide if he starts at St James' or not.

The bottom line is that international clearance must be received before Alves is allowed to kick a ball in this country.

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Tribal Football Staff

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