An FA Cup third round tie at The Riverside Stadium will be quite a leaving present for Hastings United defender Josh Jirbandey.
The 21-year-old is set to jet out to north east California next week to begin a four-year football scholarship at Lassen College which he hopes will lead to full-time football.
Jirbandey said: “I can’t wait to get out there. After we won the first round I checked to make sure I was here for the third round and it’s worked out perfectly that I’m here for the 5th and then going on the 10th.
“You never know what can happen. We’re going there to try and get a draw, maybe even win, you never know, we’re certainly not going there to lose.
“When we got to the first round you’re looking at teams like Sheffield United and playing at Brammall Lane. It didn’t happen and we got to the second round and it didn’t happen again.
“Third round we were looking to get anything remotely half decent, and they (Middlesbrough) are a Premier League club with the ground they’ve got and the facilities they’ve got. It’s going to be a brilliant day.”
United are travelling to the north-east by coach today (Friday) and spending two nights at the Newcastle Hilton before heading back south on Sunday.