JUST as Boro look to strengthen their firepower in the January transfer window, a legendary striker makes his return from the treatment table…

Cloughie’s been sidelined for six months, but this week he’s finally been given the all clear to return to his current position in Albert Park.

The bronze statue of one of the club’s all-time greats has been a popular draw with footie fans and park users since it was unveiled in 2007.

The striking piece by sculptor Vivien Mallock immortalises Clough on the route he would walk from his home in Valley Road to his beloved Ayresome Park.

In 2009 the 7ft statue – situated near the park’s Cenotaph entrance – needed treatment after a stress fracture appeared on its standing leg.

That was successfully repaired, but earlier this year and new crack appeared in a weld just above the ankle of the same leg and the statue was fenced off.

Bronze Age Sculpture Casting Foundry were brought in to carry out a diagnosis and repair, with the work completed this week.

Brian Clough made more than 200 appearances for Boro between 1955 and 1961 and would often walk through Albert Park on his way to the club’s former Ayresome Park ground.

Councillor Tracy Harvey, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “Cloughie wasn’t quite fit for Boro’s return to the top flight, but I’d like to think his restoration will serve as a good omen for the rest of the season.

“Unfortunately wear and tear on statues like this is unavoidable, but Bronze Age Sculpture have done a great job which should stand the figure in good stead for many years to come.

“The statue is a hugely popular tribute to one of the true legends to pull on a Boro shirt, so I’m delighted visitors to Albert Park can once again enjoy it in all its glory.”