LEWIS BAKER insists his frustrating Middlesbrough loan has geared him up for a crack at the Championship again with Leeds United.

The Chelsea midfielder has moved to Elland Road on a season-long loan in the hope of kickstarting his career again after the disappointments of life at the Riverside.

Baker was not overly-critical of his time on Teesside but was not given much of an opportunity to shine after making his last league start for Middlesbrough in the home defeat to Norwich last September.

Garry Monk, who signed him, handed him six league starts and he scored once in a victory over Queens Park Rangers.

After Tony Pulis took over on Boxing Day, though, he opted not to start with the Blues’ youngster and his only starting spot was in the EFL Cup at Bournemouth. He figured twice as a substitute in March.

That was not the sort of progress everyone expected when the talented Chelsea player moved to the North-East after spells with Vitesse Arnhem in Holland, where he did impress. Now Baker has big hopes for shining against Middlesbrough for Leeds.

The 23-year-old admitted: “It was a difficult season. Obviously I went there (to Middlesbrough) and the manager saw something else in me. It’s his opinion, it’s my opinion but that’s fine. It’s part and parcel of football and it’s not always going to go up. It’s like a rollercoaster ride as it may sound.

“It taught me a lot anyway because it focused me more. It made me stronger mentally so all in all I wouldn’t say it was a bad season. It was a season for learning different things.”

Pulis will take a strong team to Spennynoor’s Brewery Field tomorrow night (7.30pm) and is expected to hand first appearances on North-East soil to summer signings Aden Flint and Paddy McNair.

Boro have confirmed a second friendly during their pre-season training camp in Germany will be against Augsburg on Wednesday, July 18 in Bad Worishofen (5.30pm).

They fly out on Friday and play SV Sandhausen the next day in Mindelheim.