Brad Guzan has been backed to step into Victor Valdes' boots as Middlesbrough bid to keep their survival hopes alive at Bournemouth.

Guzan wins Agnew backing

Guzan wins Agnew backing

The 32-year-old United States international replaced the injured Valdes for Monday night's 2-1 home defeat by Arsenal and is set to wear the gloves once again against the Cherries on Saturday, with the Spaniard struggling to shake off a rib problem.

However, interim head coach Steve Agnew has no qualms over turning to a man who knows the English top flight inside out after eight years at Aston Villa.

Agnew said: "Brad Guzan has been great this season. He was in earlier on in the season and performed very, very well and again I thought he was very, very competent the other night.

"We have to remember he's played seven, eight years in the Premier League with Aston Villa, so he's an experienced goalkeeper."

Guzan's appearance against the Gunners was just his fourth in the league this season and his return has come with Boro desperately scrapping for their lives, having slipped six points adrift of safety with just six games remaining.

The trip to the Vitality Stadium and next Wednesday's home clash with fellow strugglers Sunderland represent must-win affairs, with the run-in significantly increasing in difficulty thereafter.

However, Agnew has no fears over Guzan's readiness to play his part, with the American and Dimi Konstantopoulos preparing for each game as if they were starting anyway.

He said: "They sit and watch videos of the opposition and they know exactly the strengths and weaknesses of Bournemouth in an attacking sense.

"As I said earlier, it's the experience that Brad brings - and Dimi, obviously - that gives you confidence."