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Royals who dabbled at the Riverside

11 April 2016

Five Royals who have represented Boro

On Tuesday evening, Brian McDermott’s men face a trip to the Riverside to face high-flying Middlesbrough, and as we’ve done before, we take a look back to those players who have represented both clubs during their career.

In this particular case, the list is fairly short, so without further ado, below we have selected five players to have played for both…

Nathaniel Chalobah

A youth on the international stage who has represented Gareth Southgate’s England, Chalobah’s spell with Middlesbrough came via a loan stint midway through the 2013/14 season. An Academy product of Chelsea’s, he signed a short term loan deal with Aitor Karanka’s Boro, and made his debut for the Riverside club against eventual champions Leicester at the King Power Stadium. Having seen out a loan spell with Nottingham Forest at the start of that season, Chalobah returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer having made a total of 15(+4) appearances for Boro and scoring a sole goal in a 1-0 victory over Derby.

He was then on the move again in the loan market, first making four substitute appearances for the Premier League Clarets, then in January he signed for the Royals for the remainder of the 2014/15 season. He made his bow at Madejski Stadium against Sheffield Wednesday, scoring what can only be described as a goal of the season contender. He made 20 starts for Reading, including stepping out against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, before returning to Chelsea to be loaned abroad to Napoli in the Italian Serie A league.      

Andre Bikey

On the backburner of that record breaking 106 season, Royals boss Steve Coppell delved into the transfer market to sign Andre Bikey on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow, and the Cameroon international went on to make 15 Premier League appearances that season before signing on a permanent basis the following summer. In total, Bikey played 55(+18) games for out hooped outfit before joining Owen Coyle at Burnley for the 2009/10 Premiership season.

Debuting for the Clarets against the mighty Manchester United, after spending the next three seasons at Turf Moor, the man mountain centre-half joined Middlesbrough in September 2012, taking the number three shirt. He first appeared for Boro against Ipswich, and progressed to play 35(+2) games as a regular at the Riverside Stadium. Moving on he went on to represent Panetolikos for a season, and then moved back to England with Charlton, appearing 34 times before expiry of his contract at the start of the 2015/16 season.      

Leroy Lita

A seven figure signing brought in by Steve Coppell for the start of that 2005/06 Championship season, Lita was the complete package and an instinctive goal machine. With threat in the air and skill in possession of the ball, he scored on his debut in one of only two defeats all season and played vital part in a side that was to embark on a record-breaking run to title glory. Having begun his career on the books at Chelsea, he then swapped London for Bristol to join the Robins at the start of the 2002/03 season.

30 goals that year with the Ashton Gate club prompted the Royals to swoop for the striker’s signature, and the rest as they say is history. In his debut season at Madejski Stadium Lita had 15 goals to his name, and made that tally 32 in 73(+27) appearances by the end of his Reading stay. In 2009 he joined Middlesbrough, and two seasons at the Riverside tallying 51(+27) games and 20 goals is why he holds a place on this list. Permanent moves to Swansea and Barnsley came towards the end of his career, although loan spells with Birmingham, Brighton, Sheffield Wednesday and Notts County all occurred before he joined Yeovil Town on a short-term deal until the end of the current season.     

Andrew Taylor

A seasoned veteran with Middlesbrough, Taylor first started out as a graduate of their Youth Academy alongside David Wheater and Stewart Downing. After a successful 2004 FA Cup Youth campaign, he was sent out on loan to Bradford City where he made 25 appearances for the Bantams. He returned to the Riverside to play a part in the back four that faced West Ham in the FA Cup semi-final, and proceeded to impress under manager Gareth Southgate to become a first-choice regular in his position at left-back.

After three and a half seasons in the Premier League, Taylor notched up over 90 appearances in the top flight of English football with Boro. Following a loan spell away from the Riverside, Taylor then joined Cardiff City in July 2011 with hopes that a promotion push to the Premier League would be on the cards. That season the Bluebirds made it all the way to the League Cup final, and narrowly missed out on promotion in the play-off semi-finals. They did however achieve champion status the subsequent season, and after making 18 league appearances that top flight campaign, Taylor signed for Wigan in the summer of 2014. The left-back currently plays his football for our Championship outfit having singed on a loan deal for the entirety of the current season.    

Yakubu Aiyegbeni

Starting his career in his native Nigeria, Yakubu then moved to Israel to play for Maccabu Haifa in their respective league. He represented the side in their group stage matches of the 2002/03 Champions League, netting a hat-trick against Olympiakos and scoring in a 3-0 win against Premier League giants Manchester United. Yakubu first came to England with Harry Redknapps’s Portsmouth in January 2003, and scored seven times in 14 loan appearances as Pompey were crowned champions of Division One in May.

Following a permanent move and two more seasons at Fratton Park, he then joined Middlesbrough in the summer of 2005. 19 goals in his first season and 16 goals in the next meant Yakubu was making a name for himself, and in August 2007 Everton signed the Nigerian frontman for an eight figure sum. Whilst at Goodison Park, he notched 33 goals in 74(+33) appearances, with moves to Leicester and Blackburn to follow his time as a Toffee. He then signed for the Royals in February 2015 and made bow against Leeds at Madejski Stadium. His one and only goal for the club was to be a decisive one, as he netted against Derby to secure the Royals a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

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