The pre-season preparations have already begun for Adam Forshaw, who says he can't wait for the for the 2016/17 season after Boro's fixtures were announced last week.

The squad aren't set to return to Rockliffe until July, but Forshaw is counting down to the visit of Stoke City for the first game in August and is delighted with Boro's opening fixtures of the new campaign.

"I think it's obviously good that we have a home game," he said.

"It gives us chance to get a full backing on the day which I'm sure we will to help us get off to a good start.

"You look at the fixtures and none of them are givens. It seems real when you see the fixtures but it's exciting at the same time and I think we should be pretty happy with the first few games."

Sunderland are next up on August 20 and the midfielder says he's relishing the prospect of a North East derby having been given the low down on the game by his local teammates.

"It's a local derby and a massive one for the fans and the area," said Forshaw.

"We have a few local lads who know what it's about so it will be a really good one to be involved in.

"To be honest I had a few weeks of celebrations and for the last week or so I've been itching to get back in.

"With the fixtures coming out I'm desperate to get going. I've started running and getting myself ready. I can't wait - I'm so excited."

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