Middlesbrough midfielder Didier Digard has stepped up his comeback bid by playing more than an hour for the reserves.

The 22-year-old Frenchman got 65 minutes under his belt in Tuesday night's 2-0 victory over Manchester City at the Riverside Stadium.

However, defender Chris Riggott was not so fortunate as he attempted to force his way into manager Gareth Southgate's plans. The 28-year-old managed just 16 minutes before being forced off with an ankle problem.

Digard's return from nasty thigh and knee injuries will come as a boost to Southgate as he plans for Saturday's intensely difficult trip to Arsenal, who drew 4-4 with Liverpool in a remarkable game at Anfield on Tuesday.

The former Paris St Germain player has been out of action since being carried off in the wake of a rugged challenge from Boro old boy Lee Cattermole during the 0-0 draw with Wigan on February 21.

His availability would give Southgate another option as he attempts to stave off relegation from the Barclays Premier League with just five games remaining and Boro three points from safety.

Midfielder Adam Johnson starred in Tuesday's win, claiming the first goal before Josh Walker clinched victory for a Boro side featuring nine men with significant senior experience.

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