Williams on the verge of training return

Middlesbrough Aussie Rhys Williams could be back playing early next year as he returns from a long battle with injury.

Williams looked to relaunch his career in January after almost a year on the treatment table but lasted less than a minute when he ruptured his Achilles in an FA Cup clash.

The 27-year-old Socceroo is one of three defenders who are long-term absentees on the Championship club’s roster, with Alex Baptiste and Damia Abella also on the road to recovery.

Boro boss Aitor Karanka said Williams could be back training with the team this month.

“Rhys is better, I think he will train with the team soon, as will Damia,” Karanka told Gazette Live. “When I say soon I mean three to four weeks.

“I am really pleased with all of them because with those kind of injuries their heads are sometimes bad but all of them now can see the light at the end of the tunnel, as we say in Spain. So I am pleased for them.”

Williams, whose career has been blighted by setbacks, missed the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and the 2015 Asian Cup due to injuries.

Karanka said the Australian could be back playing in early 2016: “Could be, because he can train with the team in three or four weeks.”