Middlesbrough's Kevin Thomson keen to seize new opening

Thomson (right) has only played 30 games for Boro since joining the club

Middlesbrough midfielder Kevin Thomson is looking upon Nicky Bailey's absence as an opportunity to establish a regular first-team place.

The 27-year-old, who has struggled with injuries since his move from Rangers, started the 1-0 win against Shrewsbury with Bailey out for up to two months.

"I feel for Nicky and he's a great lad," Thomson told BBC Tees.

"Somebody's disappointment is another's gain. It gives others an opportunity, and I'll take mine if it comes along."

The Scotland international continued: "I had a wee laugh and joke with Bails, because we've not actually played much football together since we came here.

"When I started to fly at the end of last season and was in the team, he was out with his ankle; and when Bails came back to do his pre-season I hurt my leg.

"Unfortunately for Bails it's the other way round this time."

Cup tie has rallied Boro team - Thomson

Thomson made his return to the Teessiders first-team as a substitute in December's 1-0 home win against Brighton - to end a two-month absence with a hamstring problem.

Tony Mowbray has since tentatively introduced the Scotland international back into the side with two further appearances from the bench, before Saturday's FA Cup encounter marked a fourth start of the campaign.

"I want to play football - If people watch me train, they'll see I always come in dirty, I work hard.

"Unfortunately for me down I've not had much luck, but I've never wanted a cuddle, never wanted sympathy or a pat on the back," Thomson added.

"I just want to show people what I can do, I was getting there toward the end of last season when people were getting a bit excited about what I could do, but I knew I was nowhere near my best.

"Hopefully I can get a fair crack of the whip and show people the true Kevin Thomson."