Ben Gibson is looking forward to shaking off the cobwebs and getting to know his new teammates during Boro's week-long training camp in Marbella. 

Monday saw the first team squad jet off to the Spanish city for the third successive year, and Gibson stresses that it is no holiday.

"Marbella is tough," he said. 

"Some people think that we're off to Marbella and it's a bit of a holiday - it's certainly not that.

"It will be double sessions in sweltering heat and it's very demanding. But it's good for the lads to re-establish that bond. 

"Our team spirit is fantastic but it gives us chance to further that, because you're practically living together, and are with each other 24/7."

Gibson, who captained Boro during the first half of last weekend's win over Doncaster Rovers, feels that this spirit is pivotal to the team's success.

"We have an identity and a camaraderie which has played a massive part, especially when the going did get tough last year.

"We had hard times, but we stuck together, ground out results, and we came through with shining colours.

"It's vital that anyone coming into the club buys into that."

Boro will open their Marbella fixture schedule on Tuesday with a game against Real Betis in the Marbella Stadium (8pm local time).

The team will play two further behind-closed-doors training matches while in Spain, with the games taking place at the Marbella Football Centre. 

"Marbella will be good for the new lads especially," Gibson said.

"It gives them chance to fit in and to get used to the way we do things, and feel an important part of the football club."

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