MIDDLESBROUGH have reached an agreement with Stewart Downing that means the winger can start the final eight matches of the Championship season.

Downing had been unable to appear in the starting line-up because of a clause in his contract that entitled him to an automatic one-year extension if he made one more start.

However, he has come to an agreement with club officials that means the clause is no longer applicable.

Therefore, Tony Pulis is free to select Downing in the starting line-up for tomorrow's Championship home game with Bristol City.

The compromise agreement does not rule out potential talks over a new deal beyond the end of the current campaign.

However, the likeliest scenario is that Downing will leave this summer, with Rangers and Sunderland both having been credited with an interest in his services.