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Will happy Given stay at Boro or will he go?
SHAY GIVEN is not thinking about leaving Middlesbrough just yet, but the experienced goalkeeper has loved being such an integral part of the team’s recent revival.
Given has kept five clean sheets in Boro’s excellent run of five wins from their last six matches to raise promotion hopes after a depressing start to the campaign.
He is unsure how long he is actually going to be at the Riverside Stadium. His loan due to expire on February 22 and if that is to be extended it must be done by the end of the transfer window on January 31.
He is leaving that in the hands of the boardroom, but he makes no secret of the enjoyment and satisfaction he has gained from the last seven weeks he has had on loan from Aston Villa.
The winning feeling which has coincided with his arrival has clearly helped, although Given thinks the atmosphere Aitor Karanka has brought to the training ground bodes well for the months ahead.
“The fans have been great to me here,” said the former Newcastle and Sunderland goalkeeper who was crucial in sealing a 1-0 win over Charlton on Saturday.
“It’s another cliché, but I will take each day as it comes because I just don’t know how long I will be here.
“Jason Steele has had an injury, which is why I was brought in, and he is still injured. I have been delighted to come here and play after the ten months I had of not being involved at Villa.
“I wanted to be part of the group and the team and I have come here and that’s exactly what I have done.
“We have all performed well in different games and as a team we have done well. The team spirit has been really good and we are all looking forward to the games ahead.”
If Middlesbrough are to extend their impressive run this weekend then Given knows he is going to have to keep out the Championship’s leaders.
Leicester City, who won at the Riverside on the opening day of the campaign in August, have a five-point gap at the top of the table going in to Saturday’s game at the King Power Stadium.
After that Middlesbrough have a further game at home to Wigan before the end of the month and by that time Given is likely to have a clearer view of where he will be for the rest of the campaign.
Football League rules state that a player’s emergency loan can only amount to 93 days in total. That is due to come to an end on February 28, meaning his last appearance is due to be against Leeds six days earlier.
The only way Karanka can guarantee to have the 37-year-old beyond that time is for Middlesbrough to reach an agreement for a standard loan between two transfer windows before the 11pm deadline on Friday, January 31.
The Middlesbrough manager has made no secret of his admiration of Given so he will be exploring ways of doing a deal. Jason Steele, the club’s No 1, is due back from ankle surgery to fight for his place at the beginning of February.
Given said: “At the minute my deal is up at the end of February and Jason Steele could be back in a few weeks. They could send me off packing! I don’t know.
“The rules I think are that the deal has to be done by the end of January if I am going to stay for the rest of the season. That’s something that will have to be talked about in the coming weeks.”
While Given’s future will have to be decided, Karanka remains on the look-out for a new striker. Any departures which are finalised will strengthen the club’s arm in their search for a front-man.
Swansea City remain interested in Rhys Williams but there is now interest in the Aussie from Celtic. Blackpool's proposed move for Frazer Richardson has it the buffers after Paul Ince was sacked yesterday.
Defender Daniel Ayala, on loan from Norwich City, is also close expected to agree a cut-price move from the Premier League club to Teesside on a permanent basis.
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