LEWIS O'BRIEN makes a surprise return to Middlesbrough's starting line-up for this afternoon's home game with Bristol City.

O'Brien was a second-half substitute in last weekend's derby draw with Sunderland, and will be making his first start since late September.

The midfielder, who is on loan from Nottingham Forest, has been sidelined with a serious ankle injury, but is now back to full fitness.

He replaces Jonny Howson in this afternoon's starting side, with the skipper dropping down to the substitutes' bench.

Seny Dieng is back in the squad, but the goalkeeper is only on the bench, with Tom Glover retaining his place in the starting side despite his error in last weekend's draw with Sunderland.

Riley McGree is also named amongst the substitutes following his return from Asian Cup duty with Australia.

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-2-3-1): Glover; Ayling, van den Berg, Fry, Engel; O'Brien, Barlaser; Forss, Hackney, Azaz; Greenwood.

Subs: Dieng (gk), Clarke, McGree, Gilbert, Dijksteel, Howson, McNair, Silvera, Thomas.

BRISTOL CITY (3-4-3): O'Leary; Tanner, Vyner, Dickie; Bell, James, Gardner-Hickman, Pring; Knight, Wells, Cornick.

Subs: Bajic (gk), McCrorie, Williams, King, Mehmeti, Conway, Roberts, Knight-Lebel, Mebude.