Middlesbrough and ex-Hartlepool United stopper Dimi Konstantopoulos poised to sign new deal

Dimi Konstantopoulos is in line for a new deal.
Dimi Konstantopoulos is in line for a new deal.
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Dimi Konstantopoulos is poised to sign a new one-year deal at Middlesbrough and battle Connor Ripley for the number one spot at the Riverside.

The 38-year-old was a key player in the club's 2015-16 promotion winning campaign making 46 appearances but he fell down the pecking order last season in the Premier League.

Konstantopoulos, fondly remembered at Pool for his spell between 2003-07, only made one appearance last year in the FA Cup but is set to earn a new deal to keep him at the Riverside.

The Greek stopper will have new Boro boss Garry Monk and goalkeeping coach Darryl Flahavan to impress when the squad return to pre-season training next week, as he prepares to do battle with Ripley for the number one spot.

His chances of earning a new deal were enhanced by the departure of Victor Valdes after his contract was terminated, while Brad Guzan has joined MLS side Atlanta United.

Monk, though, may yet still move to bring in his own goalkeeper as he looks to bolster the Boro squad ahead of what they hope will be a promotion campaign back to the Premier League after just one season in the top flight.

But as things stand, Konstantopoulos will fancy his chances of starting the season in goal for Boro though he faces tough competition from 24-year-old Ripley, who is heading back to the Riverside targeting first team football after a successful loan spell at Oldham.

He played 54 games for Oldham last season and wants to force his way into the Boro first team.

"Next season is a big one for me," said Ripley. "I want to stay here and fight for my position.

"I think I’ve done the hard work going out on loan to Sweden, Scotland and now Manchester.

"Now it’s time for me to be a Boro player and fight for my position."

Tomas Mejias and Joe Fryer have also returned from loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Pools, respectively.

Earlier this month, former Swansea City and Leeds boss Monk said: "I have a good idea of where the squad is at and what it is.

"It’s always about only adding what is needed and necessary - it’s not about bringing in numbers, it’s about bringing in the right quality and what we can actually do."