MIDDLESBROUGH expect to complete the signings of Derby County pair Malcolm Christie and Chris Riggott this morning.

Christie and Riggott have passed medicals and now both players are understood to be ready to complete loan deals, with a view to permanent transfers.

Providing both England under-21 stars sign on the dotted line before midday today, they will make their debuts in the Tees-Tyne derby at the Riverside tomorrow.

And Boro chief executive Keith Lamb does not forsee any problems, he said: "We are very confident that both players will be signed by the 12 o'clock deadline, which means they will be able to play against Newcastle."

Boro boss Steve McClaren has been keen to add both players to his squad since taking over from Bryan Robson in the summer of 2001.

Derby have been holding out for cash up front for the duo, but with no takers they have been forced to accept Boro's offer.

McClaren was desperate to add to his squad before the closure of the transfer window tonight.

And the boss, whose move for Leeds' Seth Johnson broke down on Monday, looks like he will get his wish.

He hopes the arrival of Christie and Riggott will lead to a turn around in fortunes for a side who have dropped from third to 14th in the Premiership since the beginning of October.

* Boro's young centre-back Andrew Davies has been called up for the Welsh Under-20 squad.

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