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Given: I've enjoyed my stint at Boro

SHAY GIVEN admits he will be sad to leave Middlesbrough and return to Aston Villa when his three-month loan deal ends.

Given has kept nine clean sheets in his stint at Boro but after Saturday's clash with Leeds he will have to report back for duty with Villa.

"I would have liked to have stayed until the end of the season and try to help Boro climb the table but it was very much out of my hands and I have to go back to Villa," says Given.

"But I will look back fondly on my time at Boro. I was delighted that Mr Karanaka brought me in. I've enjoyed every minute of it.

"There'll be a bit of sadness with it being my last game. I really want to go out on a high at Middlesbrough and keep another clean sheet.

"But if I can't do that and it finishes 10-9 then I'd take that now because we just want to win the game. It's all about the team.

"The fans have been fantastic to me personally. There's always a bit of trepidation when you are settling in to a new club but the fans here have been fantastic.

"With my connections with Newcastle, one of the big local rivals, it could easily have gone either way but they have been phenomenal from the first game, home and away. So I want to thank them for that.

"I have been happy how things have gone and I like to think I've helped the team a little bit as well."

SHAMROCK ROVERS had a pleasing start to their new season as the Hoops racked up a 5-1 win over Drogheda United in the Leinster Senior Cup last night.

Gary McCabe's penalty set Rovers on the way while new signings Simon Madden, Kieran Watters and Conor Kenna also scored, with Ciarán Kilduff adding a fifth, Drogheda's only response from Carl Walshe.