Damia Abella has hailed Boro as an 'amazing club' after the defender made his long-awaited return from injury this week.

The former Barcelona man joined Boro in the summer of 2014 from Osasuna and made a big impact during his first seven games upon joining Aitor Karanka's ranks at Rockliffe.

He suffered damage to his Anterior Cruciate Ligament against Cardiff City back in September 2014 and has since been desperately unlucky with a number of set-backs on his road to recovery.

Now back in training, Damia was keen to thank those who have worked with him every step of the way.

"It's been hard to be honest," he said. "The first injury was my ACL. 

"We thought and expected that I would be able to play in six months but unfortunately I needed more surgery, then three months later needed more. 

"To go through that wasn't easy because at some point I thought I might be finished.

"It's been tough, I still have a way to go and work yet, but I can train. 

"I've always felt well-supported from everyone at the club - this club is amazing in that way because everybody has been trying to help me since the injury happened and are still continuing to.

"I hope before the end of the season I'll be able to do my real job which is to play and help the team, as long as the gaffer thinks I'm ready or wants me to play. 

"I've been so lucky to stay with this club. It hasn't been hard being injured abroad because everybody has helped me."

Damia played his first game since September 2014 for Paul Jenkins' Under-21s against Leicester on Monday.

He started along with fellow long-term absentee Alex Baptiste and believes the game provided him with the platform needed to recover his best form. 

"I think like Alex Baptiste, we both went into the game with no fear," said Damia.

"It was a good test for me. I need to improve, of course, because I felt I needed oxygen after the first minute! 

"I felt good and I think it was a good base from where I can build from and get back to my level. 

"I played with the young lads and I'm so happy with the way they took me in and supported me, because it's not easy for the young lads when a first team player comes in and takes your position. 

"So I have to thank the players and coaching staff for that. In the following weeks I'll be ready to get involved because the knee is repairing well, I think I need a bit more training and another game and hopefully I'll be able to get picked."