THE apparent sulky personality of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been rubbished by Middlesbrough teammate Mark Viduka.

Viduka insists his Dutch strike partner has proved over the past couple of months they have played together that his reputation is unfair.

Over the years - at Atletico Madrid, Leeds and Chelsea - Hasselbaink has been criticised for not working hard enough off the ball as well as failing to mix with the rest of the men he has played with.

But, since moving to the Riverside, the Holland international has shown a refreshing determination to close down defenders and provide for his teammates on the pitch.

And Viduka, whose first goal against Birmingham was created by Hasselbaink, reveals the 31-year-old has been a great person to have around the dressing room as well.

"Jimmy is world-class. I heard a lot of stories about Jimmy but I had never really met him before. But all the stories I have heard are bull," said Viduka, the scorer of both goals in Saturday's 2-1 win.

"Everybody has their critics but Jimmy is one of the nicest guys I have met and he is also a great player on the pitch. Everyone says he is a sulky player but that is not the case.

"We see each other at training every day and I find him a nice guy.

"Everyone likes their own space, it's not a case of needing to hold someone's hand but we do like a bit of freedom.

"But as a player, if you look at the stats, he has not only scored three but he has set a few up as well."

And Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren, whose side are looking strong as they prepare to embark on the club's first UEFA Cup adventure this week, has been impressed with the understanding Hasselbaink and Viduka are developing - having scored six goals between them already.

"All we ask is for them to score goals and they have three each already.

"They are working well together to try to form a partnership. Jimmy has laid Mark up for two of his goals," said McClaren, whose side face Banik Ostrava at the Riverside on Thursday.

"It is early days but we have strikers who can score goals out of nothing. All the players we have brought here have a point to prove and they are proving it."

Meanwhile, Ugo Ehiogu looks to be out of Boro's first UEFA Cup tie on Thursday after leaving the Riverside on crutches.

Ehiogu, back in the side after recovering from a back problem, had to be replaced by Chris Riggott after an hour of Saturday's win.

There are fears that Ehiogu may be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after leaving the ground in some discomfort.

Read more about Middlesbrough here.