KIERON Dyer is set to go straight into Middlesbrough's starting line-up for this afternoon's Championship game at his former club Ipswich Town.
Dyer signed a four-month deal at the Riverside yesterday, with the majority of his wages being dependent on his appearance record between now and the end of the season.
The 34-year-old has struggled with a succession of serious injuries in the last three seasons, but is match fit after representing QPR at the start of the month.
He trained with his Middlesbrough team-mates yesterday, and was part of the squad that travelled south ahead of today's game at Portman Road.
Dyer made more than 100 appearances for Ipswich after making his professional debut for the club in 1996, and will be keen to make an impression as he attempts to cement a place in the Boro side.
Asked whether Dyer would be involved this afternoon, Boro boss Tony Mowbray said: "I don't see any reason why not. He's fit, so I am looking forward to seeing him at Portman Road over the weekend.
"It's a deal that suits both parties. Kieron and his advisors have been very, very honourable in the discussions.
"He's a good lad and a good pro. He wants to play football and he's happy to be here - hopefully he can contribute and help us succeed."
Dyer is not the only attacking midfielder hoping to be involved at Portman Road as Mustapha Carayol is also set to return to the first-team fold after being involved in last weekend's development game with Chelsea.
Carayol has been sidelined since damaging his knee ligaments in September, but is expected to be named among the substitutes later today.
"He played for the under-21s last Friday, created a goal and scored one," said Mowbray. "I expect him to come back and go past players, create chances, he will be like a new signing for us.
"He is part of the culture here and hopefully he will be a real positive. Kieron could be a real positive as well. We have enough good players to win plenty of matches."
Today's game will be something of an Ipswich old boys' reunion. Grant Leadbitter is another former Ipswich player and Mowbray ended his playing days with the club in 2000.
He began his coaching career in the role of first-team coach in Suffolk, and took charge of first-team affairs for four matches following the dismissal of George Burley.
"I had nine years there," he said. "Veno (assistant manager Mark Venus) had a number of years there and Grant played there before signing in the summer. It's a fabulous place and club, but they are having a tough season.
"The intensity is there for both of us. They need to claw away from the bottom and we need to get out of this league by winning."We have an eye on second. Cardiff have built up a decent gap. They will need to shoot themselves in the foot. But every time a team fails to win that is around you, you need to make the most of it to get back to the Premier League."