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Middlesbrough captain to miss Premier League kickoff

Britain Soccer Football - Middlesbrough v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Football League Championship - The Riverside Stadium - 7/5/16 Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter celebrates with the trophy and team mates after being promoted to the Barclays Premier League Action Images via Reuters / Craig Brough Livepic
Britain Soccer Football - Middlesbrough v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Football League Championship - The Riverside Stadium - 7/5/16Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter celebrates with the trophy and team mates after being promoted to the Barclays Premier LeagueAction Images via Reuters / Craig BroughLivepic

(Reuters) - Middlesbrough captain Grant Leadbitter will miss the start of the Premier League season and left back James Husband is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the promoted club said on Thursday.

Leadbitter, who made 41 league appearances as the club won promotion from the Championship, underwent an operation earlier in the close season to repair a hernia problem he had been carrying for the final two months of the last campaign.

Middlesbrough said on their website (www.mfc.co.uk), however, that further investigation had shown that the injury was worse than first anticipated and he was "set to miss the start of the 2016/17 Premier League season".

The club said 22-year-old Husband is "facing a lengthy spell out of action" and is awaiting an operation to repair a dislocated shoulder.

In a third injury blow for the club, Spanish defender Daniel Ayala is recovering from an ankle injury and will sit out Saturday’s friendly at Doncaster Rovers.

Middlesbrough open their 2016-17 campaign at home against Stoke City on Aug. 13.

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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