HE has spent most of the last week running up mountains – now Aden Flint wants to scale the Championship summit with Middlesbrough.

Flint completed a £6m move from Bristol City last month, with his arrival in the North-East coinciding with the Boro squad’s departure for a gruelling pre-season training camp in Austria.

Tony Pulis’ pre-season regime is renowned for being physically demanding, and Boro’s players were certainly put through their paces in the Alpine resort of Bad Aussee as they embarked on a series of early-morning runs and cycle rides.

There was also a spot of white-water rafting as well as a friendly game with Sturm Graz, and Flint admits the experience was something of a whirlwind coming just days after he embarked on a rather more sedate programme of training with Bristol City.

“I was doing my fitness regime with Bristol City on the Monday, then I got a call saying, ‘You’re going to Middlesbrough tomorrow morning to do a medical’,” said Flint, who played the full 90 minutes as Boro claimed their first pre-season victory at Spennymoor on Tuesday.

“It’s been a whirlwind since then. I did my medical and signed, and the next thing I know I’m on a plane to Austria, running up the side of a mountain. But it’s all good, and I’m pleased to be here.

“What better way to get to know them than straight to Austria for ten days? It was a tough trip, but I think it’s going to benefit us in the end.”

Flint was part of a Bristol City side that finished 11th in the Championship last season, missing out on the play-offs by eight points after flirting with the top six for the majority of the campaign.

The 28-year-old helped his former employers win promotion from League One in 2015, but felt the Ashton Gate club had risen as far as it could given their financial position.

Middlesbrough, on the other hand, look set for another promotion push, with Pulis keen to complete another two or three signings before the transfer window closes.

Sam Vokes and Mo Besic are leading targets despite Pulis already having spent £11m on Flint and Paddy McNair, and promotion is the sole ambition in the wake of last season’s play-off disappointment.

“My main aim is to play in the Premier League, that’s why I’ve come to Middlesbrough,” said Flint. “I want to help Middlesbrough get back to where they belong because, looking at the set-up, it’s a Premier League club. I’m ready for the challenge.

“It’s a massive club and it doesn’t belong in the Championship, it belongs in the top league. It’s well-run, with a great set-up, and we’ve got the best facilities. All of that stands us in good stead in the lead up to the season.

“It’s a relentless league and a tough division, but we’ve got a fantastic squad and if we keep working hard and putting the fitness together, we’ll be alright.”

Flint partnered Dael Fry at the heart of the back four in Tuesday’s win at Spennymoor, with Ben Gibson moving across to left-back.

It remains to be seen whether Gibson is still a Middlesbrough player when the transfer window closes, with Southampton leading a long line of clubs to have expressed an interest in his services, but whatever happens in the next four weeks, Flint is set to play a commanding role in the Boro backline.

Standing at 6ft 6in, the recent arrival is a towering presence in either penalty area, and while there might be a growing trend for centre-halves to be comfortable with the ball at their feet, Flint is happy to be characterised as an ‘old-fashioned centre half’.

“I’m just a non-nonsense defender – head it, kick it and score a few goals every now and then,” he said. “Defence is important for any team, and Middlesbrough have had a good defence in the last few years. I’m just hoping I can add to that.”