The latest from Middlesbrough FC: Sunderland frets over an injured player’s availability, the latest on Lewis O’Brien, and the decision on Cardiff City

The latest from Middlesbrough FC: Sunderland frets over an injured player’s availability, the latest on Lewis O’Brien, and the decision on Cardiff City


Michael Carrick’s side were struggling at the bottom of the Championship table in the early weeks of the new campaign before a recent winning run moved the team up to 17th.

The gap to the play-off places is now just five points, bringing the club back into promotion contention.

Boro reached the play-off semi finals last year but suffered a 1-0 defeat to Coventry City, ending their hopes of a Premier League return.

But Carrick will be aiming for another top six finish this year, as the club looks to end their seven-year stint in the second division.
Middlesbrough will be hoping to make it four in a row this weekend when they face rivals Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Before then, let’s take a look at the latest news surrounding Boro…
Sunderland are likely to be without Alex Pritchard this weekend when they host Boro.

Pritchard is an important member of Tony Mowbray’s side, but missed their victory over Watford midweek due to a slight calf strain.
The 30-year-old’s absence is a blow for the Black Cats ahead of Saturday’s clash.

“He’s probably unlikely to play at the weekend – he’s got a slight calf strain,” said Mowbray, via Teesside Live.

“Calf strains are really delicate things.

“If you gamble, then you can end up with a tear rather than a niggle.

“It will be touch and go whether he can make it, and I’ll sit and have a chat with Alex and see how he feels.”
Despite the good run of form in recent weeks, Carrick has had to deal with a number of injury issues.

The likes of Jonny Howson, Rav van den Berg and Lewis O’Brien missed the win over Cardiff City, and Darragh Lenihan and Matt Crooks were only fit enough for the bench.

Carrick confirmed that O’Brien will miss Saturday’s game with the Black Cats, and van den Berg may also be absent.

However, he is hopeful that Lenihan and Howson will be able to make a return to the starting lineup to face their promotion rivals this weekend.

“[O’Brien] won’t be back anytime soon,” said Carrick, via the Sunderland Echo.
“It will be a good few weeks, if not longer.

“He has specialists and surgeons to see, so we’ll keep you updated.”
Carrick has praised his side’s patience for coming through a frustrating fixture against Cardiff midweek.

Goals from Isaiah Jones and Emmanuel Latte sealed all three points against the Bluebirds, with the strikes coming in the 56th and 84th minutes.
Boro had 61 per cent of the ball, but struggled to break down Cardiff in the first 45, before finding a breakthrough before the hour mark.

“You could sense a little bit of frustration in the stadium in the first half but that’s the game – it probably doesn’t really help the boys that much when they can sense that type of atmosphere, but we’ve set high standards,” said Carrick, via Hartlepool Mail.

“In the first half, the longer it went on, we got to grips with it and finished the half really well, and it was coming, and the second half was really good.
“We played really well and scored some good goals.

“It was a very good night in the end.

“There wasn’t really too much drama or too much stress.”

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