AITOR KARANKA has welcomed James Husband back into his Middlesbrough squad and has described him as a ‘good option’ for the promotion run-in.

Husband has spent the majority of the season on loan at Fulham and Huddersfield, where he made the last of his 11 matches in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Hull City.

But the 22-year-old is back at the Riverside for the remaining five weeks of the campaign and the Boro head coach admits the left-back could figure in the battle for a Premier League spot.

Karanka, whose side face Reading at home tomorrow, said: “It’s nice to have him back. He is a really nice kid. He has enjoyed a lot of playing time at Huddersfield.

“When we sent him there I knew the manager (David Wagner) was a good manager, he has the same philosophy. That was good for James because he was playing the same as we play here.

“He is back and he is one of us. He is one more option for the team and we need everyone with us. When you have a lot of games at this stage of the season it is good for us to have another option. He is really good lad as well.”

Husband is unlikely to be involved against Reading but Karanka is preparing to mix things up if he feels he has to.

Middlesbrough - who can climb top if they win their game in hand tomorrow - have put themselves in the driving seat for a top two place by winning four games on the bounce, but is mindful of the fixtures still to come.

He will weigh up which players are in need of a rest before naming the team to face the Royals, although he has reported no fresh problems following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Preston.

Karanka said: “The players are really tired. I need to think about them a lot. It is not to think if one player needs a rest, it is because I don’t want to take a risk with one injury.

“Some players have played a lot of games and one injury can be dangerous because we won’t have time to recover. I need to speak with the doctors and physios and pick the best team for tomorrow.”