PEP Clotet is relishing the thought of seeing the Yellow Army on the Algarve when he takes charge of Oxford United for the first time tonight (6.30).

The new manager had a watching brief for Saturday’s 3-0 friendly victory over Oxford City.

But he will be calling the shots against Sky Bet Championship side Middlesbrough at the Ferreiras Stadium.

Hundreds of U’s fans have made the trip to Portugal which is a big boost for Clotet.

He said: “It shows the love they have for the club that they can come from the other side of Europe with us.

“This means a lot for the whole team.

“I’ve been told they are lively, loud and support the team 100 per cent wherever they go in good numbers. I’m looking forward to seeing it live.”

With the exception of Josh Ashby and Sam Long (both knee), the rest of the playing squad are due to get some game time tonight.

It will mean a debut for striker Jon Obika, while centre back Aaron Martin plays for the first time since snapping one of his Achilles tendons in December.

Clotet will also see a familiar face on the touchline.

Having been Garry Monk’s assistant at Swansea City and Leeds United, the former U’s loanee was appointed Boro boss last month.

He said: “That’s a fantastic coincidence.

“I never thought it could happen and when I spoke to Garry about it we had a good laugh.

“That’s how it is, for us it’s a training game and our fitness levels are going to be important and try to get a performance out of a good day and handle the heat as much as possible.

“The result isn’t going to be important for Garry or me.

“It’s just about trying to put the intensity in there and build it like a good training session.”