Boro forced to draft in youth
Middlesbrough are once again without a considerable number of significant players for their FA Cup third round meeting with non-league Hastings United at the Riverside.
Both Jonathan Woodgate (calf) and Scott McDonald (hamstring) are rated doubtful and appear set to join the likes of Emmanuel Ledesma (knee), Marvin Emnes (hamstring), Josh McEachran (knee), Justin Hoyte (hip), Seb Hines, Andre Bikey and George Friend (all hamstring) on the sidelines.
However, Belgian midfielder Faris Haroun has returned to training and could be included on the bench while long-term casualties Julio Arca (toe), Muzzy Carayol and Curtis Main (both knee) remain out.
As a result youngsters Paul Weldon and Christian Burgess recently made the squad for the defeat at Derby County. They have since been joined by Academy scholars Jordan Jones, Andre Bennett and Bryn Morris, who have all been specially registered as available to play this weekend. Boro currently have as many as fourteen players in their busy treatment room.
"We'll play the strongest team that's available to us," manager Tony Mowbray told Boro's official website. "The injury list is as bad as it's been this season and we've had a pretty harsh time.
"But there will be no excuses from us if we don't get the result we want, it will be nobody's fault but our own," he continued. "It's a huge game for them and we have to make sure we show them the respect they deserve, match their effort and hopefully our extra quality will make the difference."
Hastings could award an immediate debut to 21-year-old goalkeeper Liam O'Brien following his loan move from Barnet, as regular keeper Matt Armstrong-Ford (knee) remains a doubt.