Boro's Under-23s sign off for Christmas with an away trip to Aston Villa this afternoon (2pm).

Defeats to Reading and Fulham in the most recent two fixtures have seen Graeme Lee's youngsters knocked off the top of the PL2 table by Leeds United.

But victory at Villa's Bodymoor Heath training ground this afternoon would move Boro back level with the league leaders.

The home side are also looking to bounce back after back-to-back defeats to Leeds and Midlands rivals West Brom.