MIDDLESBROUGH have defended their policy to hold an unpaid position within their physiotherapy department after being identified as one of 37 clubs advertising jobs offering no money.

Boro were named in a Sporting Intelligence investigation via a Freedom of Information enquiry showing more than a third of clubs across the Premier and Football Leagues offering jobs without pay.

The role being advertised at the Riverside Stadium club was for a physiotherapist sports therapist rehabilitation but Middlesbrough responded last night to state that it provides an opportunity for students to get in to work.

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A club spokesman told The Insider: "We have for some time extended to several physiotherapy and sports science students the opportunity to gain practical experience and assistance through part-time internships, which typically involve working one day a week.

"These posts have been used by the students to develop their skill base and provide them with work experience in the professional sports arena, following which they are better placed to pursue their chosen career path. We would stress that none of these internships have involved full-time work."A number of those who have been interns with the club have gone on to secure paid roles with either our club or other professional sports clubs."

The other 36 clubs highlighted in the findings included Arsenal, Cardiff City, Liverpool, Norwich City, Reading, Tottenham, Watford, West Ham and Wigan.

NORTH-EAST cricket fans can rest assured that the fourth Ashes Test will be going ahead at the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground this summer after work started on the new stand this week.

After finally receiving the necessary £2.8m funding from Durham County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership, the region's flagship cricket ground are confident the work will be completed in times for the visit of Australia on August 9-13.

The new stand will add 5,500 permanent seats, meaning the capacity for the eagerly-awaited Aussies visit will be sufficient for the sell-out number of tickets which has been sold.

And the supporters waiting to hear news of when their tickets will be posted out, it is understood that they will be on their way six weeks before the Test.

BOTH Newcastle United and Sunderland have had an increase in attendances this season which has been reflected in an overall rise in numbers attending games across the Premier League.

Despite the difficult economic period, 16 of the division's 20 clubs all posted increases and the two North-East clubs were part of that.

Newcastle's average attendance climbed from 49,935 to 50,517 while Sunderland's climbed from 39,095 last season to 40,544 this time around. Newcastle boasted the eighth biggest crowd in Europe, while Sunderland are 16th.

There was no such fortune in the Football League. Middlesbrough's failure to stay with the promotion pack led to a fall from 17,557 to 16,794 and relegation from League One meant a significant decrease to 3,612 from 4,960 for Hartlepool United.

THIS week saw further reporting centred on the future of Gateshead-born striker Andy Carroll, with Newcastle seemingly set to miss out on the signature of their former striker.

And one suggestion doing the rounds was that Newcastle not only struck an incredible £35m cash up front deal for him 24 months ago, but the deal also included a 25 per cent sell on clause of any future sale.

However, it is understood that is not the case. There is a clause stating Liverpool would have to pay 25 per cent to Newcastle of a fee if it was more than the £35m they paid to St James' Park.

As West Ham are looking at paying £15m, though, there is no such chance of Newcastle receiving anything.