Goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos has said he never expected to be a long-term fixture at Middlesbrough when he first moved to the Riverside.
The Greece international signed in August 2013, initially as cover.
However, he has since established himself as first choice despite the arrival of Real Madrid's Tomas Mejias, leading to Jason Steele's exit.
"I was happy with a short-term deal as I saw it as a chance to get back in," the 36-year-old told BBC Tees.
He has made 29 appearances this season, out of a total of 42 in Boro colours.
Konstantopoulos, who played for Hartlepool United and Coventry earlier in his career, arrived under Tony Mowbray's management after a spell with Greek giants AEK Athens soured, yet it was not until Aitor Karanka's arrival on Teesside that he forced his way into the reckoning.
"I left Greece from a club deep in trouble and was looking for a chance to get back to England, where I felt settled and relaxed," Karanka said.
"Things went for me, the new gaffer came in had a proper look and liked me, so I got the chance.
"Since then it's just been getting better and better and I hope it continues."
The deal, which keeps the veteran at the Riverside for a further season, could end with Middlesbrough in the Premier League, six years after their relegation from the top flight.
"That's the target, everything is set and ready for this club to return," he added.
"We're doing our best, we're doing well so far, although we know nothing is done yet.
"We've got a few more games to go and must approach every game as difficult."