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Clapham to stay part of Boro backroom team
JAMIE CLAPHAM is set for first team coaching duty full-time under Aitor Karanka after helping out on the Middlesbrough training ground in recent weeks.
Clapham has been a key-man at Rockliffe Park for the club’s Spanish boss to help with communication and on tactics since succeeding Tony Mowbray.
The former Ipswich midfielder was originally moved up from his role leading the Under-21s for Mark Venus’ temporary three-match stint.
There has been a big void left by the departures of Mark Proctor and Stephen Pears, so the presence of Clapham during a period of settling in for Karanka has been key.
He has effectively taken on right-hand man responsibilities over the last month and there are no signs of that changing in the short-term.
Karanka is still hoping to add a couple more foreign members to his backroom team, which already has fitness coach Carlos Cachada and a new analyst.
But whatever further adjustments are carried out in the coming weeks, Clapham looks set to be a prominent player in the set-up for the long term.
That will mean Graeme Lee, the former Hartlepool defender, carrying on in his role as Under-21s boss at the Riverside Stadium.
Neither Lee nor Karanka have been able to call on left-sided Andy Halliday in the last fortnight and he has undergone a minor hernia operation.
The 22-year-old has not figured for the first team since emerging as a substitute in the 2-2 draw with Watford on November 9.
Halliday, who moved to Teesside in August 2010 and signed a new contract last season, is yet to figure under Karanka.
And he will be among those sidelined for the trip to Millwall this Saturday. Jonathan Woodgate is a serious doubt with a muscle problem, while Kei Kamara is definitely missing with a knee injury.
Halliday does, though, expect to be available for selection over the festive fixtures, if Karanka chooses to call on him for the first time.
The Middlesbrough head coach has already started to put plans in place for the January transfer window, so the likes of Halliday will look to make an impression.
Strong links have been forged with Atletico Madrid and Chelsea so far and it had been hoped more than Shay Given would have arrived on loan before last month’s deadline.
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