STUART Parnaby accepts that he has to be patient to force his way into the Middlesbrough team on a regular basis after making his long-awaited comeback in midweek.
Boro boss Tony Mowbray played the full-back in Tuesday’s 3-1 Capital One Cup victory at Preston, a game that marked Parnaby’s first Boro start since April, 2007.
Since then, he also enjoyed a four-year spell with Birmingham but is elated that he finally had the chance to don the red jersey again after a year-long exodus from the game last season.
He said: “I’m just chuffed to be involved at the minute at a football club – especially back at Middlesbrough, which is a big thing for me.
“I got 90 minutes (at Preston), felt good and did myself justice. I’ve got to go on from here.
“Justin Hoyte is playing well at right-back at the moment, so I know I have to be patient.
“It is about being patient. I have felt better every week I have been training. I know it will take time to get to the level I once was and Tuesday was a step towards that.”
Parnaby isn’t expected to feature in tomorrow’s home game against Leicester, although with former Sunderland loan man Hoyte a slight doubt with a hamstring problem, the 2003 Carling Cup winner could be handed a second successive start.
If Hoyte was to be restored to the defence, though, Parnaby won’t get too downhearted, insisting that beating himself up about not being selected would be detrimental to team morale.
He added: “If you look at the dressing room, we have a great set of lads, we are all in it for the same reason and we want to go up, do well. If we can all stick together then we can do it.
“It won’t work if people are getting upset with not playing. We are in it for a long season, there could be 60 odd games, we just have to be at it every day and stick together, keep the spirit right.”