The striker has played just once since August due to a hamstring injury, but he is now ready to step up and make a return to action.

Gestede will provide the experience in what will be a young Boro squad at Bodymoor Heath.

With a number of youngsters having stepped into the first team squad over the course of the season – Djed Spence the latest to make his league debut at the weekend – opportunities are opening up across the board within the Academy.

Boro fielded a young side against Boro Rangers in the North Riding Senior Cup last midweek, but the Villa trip presents both a sterner test and a return to league action.

Our U23s also beat Crystal Palace 5-1 in the PL Cup last week, and Graeme Lee will be looking for more of the same from his players at Villa.