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Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Wednesday, 4 August 2010 14:41 UK

Difficult season awaits Middlesbrough - Kevin Thomson

Kevin Thomson
Thomson won the Scottish Premier League and League Cup last season

Middlesbrough midfielder Kevin Thomson is aware of the challenge facing the side as they push for promotion to the Premier League this season.

The ex-Rangers midfielder expects a tough Championship campaign during his debut season in English football.

"There's 24 teams, 46 games, with about a dozen teams that fancy their chances," Thomson told BBC Tees.

"It shows how competitive it is with everyone striving for the top two positions, and we're no exception."

The Scotland international arrives on Teesside amid competition for places in midfield, with Gordon Strachan's side currently boasting Julio Arca, Nicky Bailey, Matthew Bates, Willo Flood, Barry Robson, Gary O'Neil and Rhys Williams battling to feature.

However Thomson says he is confident that he can establish himself this season.

When you think of Middlesbrough you think of them as a Premier League side

Kevin Thomson

"I think competition is healthy," he said.

"I've always had the same situation, when I was at Hibs and I was only a young boy, and then again when I went to Rangers, where we had some really top midfielders.

"Barry Ferguson, Brahim Hemdani, Steven Davis, Pedro Mendes - they're all top players but I managed to fight my way through them and retain a position in the team.

"I'll be doing the same here. I'll be working hard, I certainly don't take anything for granted, I'm not that kind of player."

Thomson was a mainstay of the Rangers midfield last season, racking up 25 league appearances as Walter Smith's side clinched the Scottish Premier League and Co-operative Insurance Cup double, and showing the form that launched a £2m move to the Riverside in July.

Having been earmarked for Gordon Strachan's SPL-influenced squad, the Edinburgh-born player has confidence in the line-up that the former Celtic manager has put together.

"When you think of Middlesbrough you think of them as a Premier League side," Thomson continued.

"Gordon has brought in a group of boys that he feels can push for promotion."

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