Middlesbrough 1 Brighton 1: Five key players in Boro promotion

Middlesbrough's Christian Stuani (centre) celebrates after scoring.
Middlesbrough's Christian Stuani (centre) celebrates after scoring.
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Middlesbrough secured their return to the Premier League after a seven-year exile when they drew 1-1 with Brighton on Saturday to clinch the second automatic promotion spot.

Here, we take a look at five men who played significant roles in dragging the Teessiders back into the top flight.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.


Greece international goalkeeper Konstantopoulos has had his critics this season after a couple of high-profile errors, but he been otherwise hugely dependable and his 22 clean sheets laid the foundation for Boro’s success.


Spanish defender Ayala has been a rock for the Teessiders and it was little coincidence that the club enjoyed a mid-season wobble during his his two-month injury absence between February and April.


Local boy Gibson, the nephew of chairman Steve, has formed a formidable central defensive partnership with Ayala and provided a link with the fans, from among whose ranks he emerged.


Not the biggest name in a midfield boosted by the summer return of Stewart Downing, Clayton has nevertheless worked tirelessly alongside Grant Leadbitter to provide a shield in front of the back four and a supply line for the men in front of him.


Wide-man Adomah appeared to be on his way out of the Riverside Stadium in August after a difference of opinion with head coach Aitor Karanka, but his reintegration has been richly rewarded with a series of high-octane performances which have enhanced the club’s cutting edge.

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