Upbeat Woodgate back in training at Middlesbrough

Jonathan Woodgate has returned to training at Middlesbrough.

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The 27-year-old underwent surgery on a damaged knee cartilage the day after last season drew to a close, and returned to full training on Monday.

He could now be as little as a fortnight away from resuming his place in Southgate's side, and he admits he cannot wait to get back to business.

Woodgate said: "It's great to be back in training and I feel all right.

"Obviously I would love to be available for the derby - it's one of the biggest games of the season - but I need more training and that's what I am concentrating on."

The win at Craven Cottage has given the whole club a boost, and Woodgate knows a repeat against Newcastle would send confidence soaring.

He said: "It's a massive game for us and you can see that the lads cannot wait.

"We were very confident at the start of the season and we were very unlucky not to beat Blackburn on the first day.

"The performance at Wigan was not good enough, but then we rode our luck at Fulham and that made up for Blackburn.

"Those first three points were vital. Now we have to start climbing up the league again.

"If we can beat Newcastle, it will really get things going and then hopefully we can push on and make this a big season by challenging for a place in Europe."

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