STRIKER Alen Boksic yesterday revealed he wants to stay with Middlesbrough for the rest of his career.

The 31-year-old Croatia star, who was signed by former Boro manager Bryan Robson, insists he has never been happier since his £2.5m move from Lazio in the summer of last year.

Boksic was Boro's player of the year last term with 12 goals, but there was speculation that he would move on following Robson's close-season departure and the appointment of Steve McClaren. However, Boksic has struck up a promising partnership with Slovakian arrival Szilard Nemeth and is enjoying life under the new Riverside regime.

Boksic, who has over two-and-a-half years to run on his contract, said: "I want to play for another two or three years and I am really happy to stay here - I don't see any reason to go.

"So if the club want me to stay, there's no problem. I am more settled than last year and I am really happy.''

Meanwhile, out-of-favour Dean Windass has turned down a loan return to Bradford City to fight for his Boro place.

Bantams boss Jim Jefferies, who sold Windass to Boro for £1m in March, tried to take him on a three-month loan as cover for ankle-injury victim Ashley Ward.

Windass, who hasn't started a first-team game for over two months, confirmed: "Bradford tried taking me back when Ashley got injured, and they wanted me on a three-month loan.

"But I'm happy at Middlesbrough - they are a massive club and a great club."

Windass, linked with moves to Bolton and Leicester, pushed his claims for a Boro recall when he hit a hat-trick in the Reserves' 4-3 win at Liverpool a fortnight ago.

The form of Boksic and Nemeth and the emergence of 19-year-old Argentinian Carlos Marinelli, have seen Windass knocked back in Boro's attacking pecking order.

He added: "I got injured and the strikers who have played have done well, so I could hardly go banging on the manager's door.

"I have to be patient, but I've scored four goals in two reserve matches and I am just waiting for my chance.''

* Boro's Mark Schwarzer and Paul Okon were forced to run a gauntlet of hate when they arrived in Montevideo for the second leg of Australia's World Cup play-off against Uruguay.

The Socceroos were jostled and spat at by Uruguayan fans and there were reports that one player was punched. Australia, with Schwarzer in goal and midfielder Okon captaining the side, won the first leg 1-0 in Melbourne on Tuesday. The return is this Sunday.

* Coventry are understood to be challenging Midlands rivals Leicester for Boro striker Brian Deane

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