Middlesbrough made the perfect start to the countdown to their Premier League return. Almost perfect.
Jordan Rhodes scored twice for Aitor Karanka’s men in a 6-0 romp at National League side York City, with Marten de Roon and Jordan McGhee the first of the new signings to make their bow.
But the win came at a cost with James Husband coming off with a dislocated shoulder.
Husband’s injury aside, it was a good day for Karanka who fielded two separate sides at Bootham Crescent and saw his principal striker on the scoresheet.
“The score was the last thing I was thinking about,” said the Spaniard. “These games are like training sessions and you don’t want to be getting an injuries.
“Unfortunately, we have another injury with Hubby. I hope he will be back with us soon.
“Apart from that, I am pleased.
“The players did well, not maybe tactically or the way they played but the attitude was good.”
McGhee and de Roon both played 45 minutes with fellow new boys Victor Valdes, Viktor Fischer and Bernardo Espinosa still to start.
Karanka said that he was thrilled to have the bulk of his transfer business done at the start of pre-season.
“It is great to have a lot of players arriving,” said Karanka.
“I am really pleased because now that lets me focus on the pitch.”
His business is not quite yet finished it seems with Neven Subotic in talks with Middlesbrough over a reputed £8milliion from Borussia Dortmund
The Bundesliga side gave the Serbia international permission to travel to Teesside and he was shown around the club’s facilities at the end of last week.
But Karanka, typically, played a straight bat at suggestions the 27-year-old was coming to the Riverside.
“I don’t want to start speaking about rumours,” he told BBC Tees.
Boro went ahead in the 19th minute when Carlos de Pena’s header rebounded off the post and struck former Pools keeper Scott Flinders and went into his own net.
And Boro, cheered on by 1,508 fans, doubled their advantage four minutes later when Academy midfielder Alex Patterson played in David Nugent, who scored after following up his shot that was blocked by Flinders.
The tricky Albert Adomah got his goal after linking with Nugent before converting from close range.
Rhodes tucked away his first before Reach scored the pick of the goals with 15 minutes left with a curling effort.
Rhodes completed a very comfortable victory three minutes from time when he neatly finished from inside the penalty area after a cross from Reach.
Boro included talented Hartlepool teenager Bryn Morris in the opening 45 minutes, with Pools loanee Adam Jackson playing the second period in the centre of defence.
Ex-Pools striker, Scott Fenwick, who joined the Minstermen last week in a free transfer, played the second 45 for the home side.
York: Flinders, Rooney, Whittle, Kamdjo, Higgins, Fry, Connolly, Heslop, Brodie, Klukowski, Galbraith
Subs: Robinson, Clappison, Walton, Nti, Felix, Dixon, Fenwick, Wardle, Kennedy, Thompson
Boro first half: Mejias, Nsue, Husband, de Sart, Baptiste, Morris, Adomah, Forshaw, Nugent, Pattison, De Pena
Second half: Konstantopoulos, Halliday, McGhee, Jackson, Friend, Carayol, Clayton, de Roon, Downing, Rhodes, Reach