Successive home games for Boro
Middlesbrough can get right back on track with successive home games starting against Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day.
Manager Tony Mowbray will need to check on the availability of Nicky Bailey, Andre Bikey and Ishmael Miller (all illness) after missing their recent defeat at Leeds United. Goalkeeper Jason Steele and striker Marvin Emnes were also struggling but managed to turn out at Elland Road.
Australian international Rhys Williams travelled to that game after returning from an ankle injury and could be involved.
"I think it's a bit early for Rhys and yet we might have to rush him back because of a lack of numbers," Mowbray confirmed to the Evening Gazette. "Steele was vomiting before the Leeds game but played, Emnes had a bad stomach. I wasn't going to mention it because I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses, but it was an issue.
"We had to leave Bailey, Bikey and Miller back at home because they all had a bug," he continued. "But we won't be the only team to suffer this kind of setback."
Blackburn have midfielders Danny Murphy and David Dunn available alongside defender Markus Olsson following illness.
But Mauro Formica (foot) is considered doubtful while Fabio Nunes and Nuno Gomes are both sidelined by hamstring trouble.
Following the arrival of Rovers, fourth-placed Boro then host Blackpool at the weekend before travelling to Derby County on New Year's Day.
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