MIDDLESBROUGH defender Stuart Parnaby has issued a moving thank you following a recent family tragedy.

On Monday, Parnaby's wife, Paula, lost what would have been the couple's first baby just four weeks short of full term.

"We are devastated, but we are blessed that we have so many good friends and a strong family, together with so many well wishers," said Parnaby.

"We would like to thank everyone for their prayers, thoughts and messages at what is an incredibly difficult and emotional time."

Boro's players will wear black armbands during today's game with Brighton as a mark of respect for Poppy Isabella Elizabeth.

Speaking on behalf of Middlesbrough Football Club, chief executive Neil Bausor said: "Our thoughts are with Stuart and Paula at this difficult time. We were all deeply saddened to hear this news. Although this is a private matter, Stuart is a very popular member of the dressing room and club.

"I'm sure he'll draw strength and support from that in the difficult days and weeks ahead."