Defender Aden Flint is relishing life at Middlesbrough – after helping Boro to a first pre-season success last night.
Beaten by Sturm Graz in Austria last week, Boro secured a 2-0 win at National League North outfit Spennymoor Town, with Patrick Bamford (penalty) and Britt Assombalonga on target.
Flint, a summer signing from Bristol City, told mfc.co.uk: “It’s a great workout for the lads, that’s what it was about. Obviously it was a good performance to go with it – we played some good stuff at times.
“You’re looking for fitness and getting back into the groove – what patterns and shape we want to play.”
Reflecting on the gruelling Austrian training camp, Flint added: “It was a tough trip, but it will benefit us in the end..
Manager Tony Pulis was more concerned with the players’ fitness than the result.
“In early pre-season, I’m not too focused on the result, I’m more concerned about the performance in the respect of their fitness levels and making sure they put everything into it,” he said.
“They looked pretty fit to me. We’ll try add a bit more and when they get to Germany (to play SV Sandhausen on Saturday), they’ll play a bit longer and the opposition will be a bit stronger, it’ll be different, the weather is going to be a lot hotter as well.
“But it’s preparing everything for that first game and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Boro strted brightly and Adama Traore forced a save from Moors keeper Matthew Gould before the opener came from a second-minute penalty, when Gould felled former Sunderland midfielder Paddy McNair in the box.
Bamford calmly converted the resulting spot-kick
Bamford curled a free-kick over the bar as Boro had the better of the few chances, while McNair had a shot deflected wide and Gould needed two attempts to keep out a Traore strike.
Right on half-time, McNair produced a moment of magic before sending a volley wide.
In the second half, Moors’ Glen Taylor had a header saved by Darren Randolph. Boro made plenty of changes, switching McNair to right-back, before ex-Sunderland loanee Ashley Fletcher shot narrowly wide after an excellent Dael Fry pass.
Boro, though, doubled their lead when Fletcher’s fine ball set Assombalonga free. Gould kept out his initial effort, but the striker netted at the second attempt.
Sub Fletcher was lively and could have scored himself, only to be denied by a brave save at his feet.
Spennymoor Town: Gould, Williams, Brogan, Chandler, Thackray, Atkinson, Hibbs, Henry, Taylor, Ramshaw, Johnson
Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Gibson, Fry, Flint, Clayton, McNair, Howson, Adama, Bamford, Gestede. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Fabio, De Sart, Wing, Leadbitter, Johnson, Fletcher, Assombalonga. Att: 708