Bates blow for Boro

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Middlesbrough have confirmed Matthew Bates faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Bates suffered knee ligament damage in Tuesday's friendly win at Darlington on his return from a lengthy lay-off.

The 20-year-old spent most of last season out of action after suffering a cruciate knee ligament problem in November.

Boro boss Gareth Southgate admitted it was a cruel blow for the central defender.

"We all feel for Matty, who was looking forward to playing football again after a long period on the sidelines," said Southgate.

"He had applied himself so well to get back in contention and this latest injury is obviously difficult for him to accept.

"He will get the best possible medical support from us as far as treatment and rehabilitation are concerned and we are all right behind him at this difficult time."