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The striker has returned to fitness at Boro knowing he has a fight for a place on his hands, but has welcomed the competition and wants a chance alongside Jutkiewicz

Scott McDonald is confident playing alongside Middlesbrough strike partner Lukas Jutkiewicz will bring out the best in him.

The fringe Australia international spent two months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage and only returned to action on Saturday as a substitute in Boro's 1-1 Championship draw at Brighton.

Jutkiewicz arrived at the Riverside in January, having signed from Coventry City, and has formed a good understanding with Marvin Emnes.

But speaking to The Northern Echo, McDonald is keen emulate the time he spent at Celtic and strike up his own partnership with the Everton product.

"I really do feel I can build a partnership with Lukas," McDonald said.

"I've said it before but he's my type of player, he's a targetman, the evidence is there within ten seconds of entering the pitch on Saturday, I played him in and he hit the post.

"That's where my success came when I was a Celtic player, playing off a bigger man."

Mowbray has often deployed a three-man attack when his first-choice strikers are fit but McDonald is content to play anywhere.

"I'm just happy to be playing, though. Whether it's playing up top, in behind, or out left, which I've done this season," he said.

"It's up to the manager what he wants to do, we've got Marv scoring goals as well, so you can't forget that - it's totally disrespectful if I was to.

"He's done a fantastic job for us and kept us in the fight, so we'll just have to wait and see. There may be games where the gaffer may want to change things around, he's got some good options to have."

Having initially been ruled out for the remainder of the season, McDonald made a quicker-then-expected recovery and he praised the club’s medical and fitness staff for their work.

"It's been a difficult time for me," McDonald said.

"I've never been out for this long before, touch wood, but I've got to give full credit the staff at the club, they've done a fantastic job with me, pulled the reins in on me a few times, when I was getting overly keen to get back into things, but we've done everything right, they're delighted as much as me to get me out there. 

"Hopefully now, I'm feeling fit, I'm feeling fine, and to come on against Brighton was a good test for me.

"Seriously, it's good to be back and I've just got to keep working hard now and force my way back into the team."

On Saturday, Tony Mowbray’s men host eighth-placed Cardiff City to the Riverside, knowing a win could catapult them back into the play-off places.

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