Ledley King believes the return of Ugo Ehiogu can only strengthen Middlesbrough's hand in Saturday's key clash in the Barclays Premiership.
The defender is back to partner another former England international - Gareth Southgate - after missing the majority of the season through injury.
Skipper Ledley said: "They are both experienced players and it wasn't so long ago that they were seen as one of the best defensive partnerships in the league.
"Ego has had his injury problems but he's back and Middlesbrough will only gain from the two of them being back and playing together.
"It will be a tough game, they have experienced players in key positions but these are the games you want to be involved in - a real test of character to see how far we've come."