The squad have been back training for almost a fortnight now, and are midway thorough the warm-weather training camp in Portugal.

Monk and his staff have presided over a wide range of sessions, including the physical, fitness, tactical, and technical, and the new manager is pleased with how things are shaping up.

"It's been very good so far," he said. "The lads are taking things on board, and it's not been easy for them. There's still a long way to go, but that's all part of the process. 

"They've shown a great response and every day is a step forward."

Boro play a first game of the summer on Wednesday (6.30pm) against Oxford United, and the manager will be aiming to use the game as a gauge for the progress being made.

"We'll set them certain targets and objectives to see where they are," he said. "We haven't covered everything we want to, but we'll see where we are in terms of what we have done so far."

In a twist of fate, the game is the first as boss for new Oxford manager Pep Clotet, who worked alongside Monk as his assistant at Leeds last season.

"We'd always talked about one day how we might face each other," said Monk. "It'll be great to see him."