MIDDLESBROUGH’S three January signings are contending for a starting spot in tomorrow’s Championship home game with Reading after a full week’s training at Rockliffe Park.

Jack Harrison, Mo Besic and Martin Cranie all arrived on loan in the final week of the transfer window, and the trio were all unused substitutes in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Norwich City.

Tony Pulis did not feel they were ready for an outing at Carrow Road, but that is set to change tomorrow with Besic and Harrison pushing especially hard for a place in the side that will face Reading.

Pulis said: “We needed to have a look at them, and we’ll see for the weekend. We’ve got one or two niggles today, so we’ll see how they are in training. After training we’ll assess it, and we’ll go from there.

“It gives us some different options.  Jack looks as bright as a button, he’s just a little bit short of fitness. Besic is a good player and we need to get him in the team as quickly as we can, but we have to be patient to make sure he’s 100 per cent fit before he plays. We don’t want to be losing him.”

Rudy Gestede is available for tomorrow’s game after his red card in last weekend’s defeat was overturned by an FA disciplinary panel.

Pulis said: “He was disappointed he got sent off. There were people who said he should have been sent off, but if you watch the challenge, Rudy actually plays the ball. Yes, he plays it with his studs, but he plays the ball.

“He’s behind the ball when he plays it, and his feet are not off the ground. He doesn’t go over the ball, he doesn’t go to the side of the ball, and (Grant) Hanley actually collides after Rudy has played the ball.

“We’re pleased it’s been overturned, but it was a decision in the game that changed the game. There’s no doubt about that, and those breaks have not been going for this football club. It’s not the first time we’ve had a referee who has made a decision that afterwards you look at it and think, ‘How has he come to that decision?’”