RHYS WILLIAMS returns to the Middlesbrough squad for the first time in four months for this afternoon’s Boxing Day clash with Blackburn Rovers at the Riverside.

Williams has been out since rupturing ankle tendons in the Capital One Cup win at Gillingham, but makes his first appearance in Tony Mowbray’s matchday squad today.

The Boro captain will start on the bench, but his return in time for a busy festive programme gives Mowbray a major boost as he looks to get the second half of the season off to a good start.

The Boro boss makes two changes to the side that lost at Leeds last week with Andre Bikey returning in place of Seb Hines, while Emmanuel Ledesma comes in for Richard Smallwood.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Woodgate, Bikey, Friend, McEachran, Leadbitter, Ledesma, McDonald, Jutkiewicz, Emnes.

Subs: Leutwiler, Williams, Bailey, Smallwood, Thomson, Halliday, Miller. Blackburn Rovers: Kean, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Olsson, Rosado, Murphy, Lowe, King, Rhodes, Kazim-Richards.

Subs: Usai, Givet, Dunn, Gamst Pederson Etuhu, Rochina, Vukcevic.