FORMER Hartlepool United promotion hero Dimi Konstantopoulos will make his Middlesbrough debut against Hull City tomorrow (kick off 3pm).
On-loan keeper Shay Given is ineligible for the FA Cup third round tie due to the arrangements in his loan contract from Aston Villa.
That means Dimi, who played 139 times in between the sticks for Hartlepool United, will play his first competitive game on English soil since 2009 when he donned the Cardiff City jersey.
Primarily an understudy to Jason Steele, Konstantopoulos will be selected by boss Aitor Karanka as Steele’s ankle injury continues to sideline him.
The 6ft 4in stopper joined the Boro in the summer, having been linked to a return to Pools if Scott Flinders was sold.
Dimi reached the fourth round with Pools in 2005 and could repeat the feat tomorrow against Premier League opposition.
Karanka understands the meaning of the competition for the supporters.
He told BBC Tees: “We have to play well in our own stadium with our supporters.
“It’s an important game for our supporters, the FA Cup has a lot of excitement for them.
“I will play my best team.
“It’s important for the players to know that when we play well we can win every game.”
With the January transfer window now open Karanka is keen to strengthen.
However the Spanish boss is keeping his cards close to his chest and should he fail to make additions would not be too disheartened.
He said: “I don’t know (if there will be any signings).
“I am happy with my team because everybody is working well.”
Meanwhile, Millwall have completed the permanent signing of Boro right-back Justin Hoyte.
The 29-year-old initially joined the Lions on loan at the start of November and has since started four Championship games for the London club as well as making one sub appearance.
Hoyte was always expected to stay in South-East London.
The Trinidad & Tobago international has now signed a contract with Millwall which ties him to the club until the end of next season.
Signed for £3million from Arsenal in August 2008, Hoyte made 162 appearances for Boro, scoring two goals.