Jonny Howson is relishing a fresh start at Middlesbrough, with promotion back to the Premier League the target.
The 29-year-old midfielder is enduring pre-season training in the heat of Portugal, after signing from Norwich City last week.
The Canaries failed to sustain a promotion challenge in the Championship last year, but Howson reckons Boro are on the right road under new manager Garry Monk, despite last season’s disappointing relegation.
He said: “There is a good squad here with a real chance of bouncing back and it’s great I’ve been given the opportunity to come here and be a part of that.
“There’s a fair few reasons why I was keen to come here.
“I’m aware of what the manager here did last season, but I was aware of the facilities going back to when I went up there with the Academy at Leeds, and the size and potential of the club.”
Boro have two games lined up in the Algarve, against Oxford United tomorrow and Chesterfield on Saturday, with 6.30pm kick-offs to reduce problems with the temperatures.
Asked about Boro’s training regime under Monk in Portugal, Howson told mfc.co.uk: “It’s a nice place to come and train and it’s a good way to get to know everyone when you spend 24/7 together.
“It’s very hot, but that helps with getting you fit and it’s all part and parcel of pre-season training.
“It’s good to get to know your team-mates, and it’s good to get a greater understanding of the manager and listen to his messages and what he wants.”
Boro defender Bernardo Espinosa has joined Girona, newly promoted to the Spanish top tier, after just a season on Teesside.
He made just 15 appearances last season, after an injury-hit campaign, having signed from Sporting Gijon.
Meanwhile, Boro’s Riverside Stadium has added another 250 seats to the ground, taking capacity up to 34,000.