Paddy McNair will be a big miss for Middlesbrough over the Christmas period as he serves a three-match ban.
The midfielder received a red card during Saturday’s 3-1 defeat against Swansea City.
Jonathan Woodgate was unhappy with the decision to send off the Northern Ireland international and signalled his intent to lodge an appeal to the FA regarding his red card.
But after considering the matter, Middlesbrough confirmed that the original charge had been upheld following his dismissal.
That means that McNair will miss the fixtures against Stoke City, Huddersfield and West Brom.
Of course the midfielder’s suspension could have a big impact on the rest of the squad.
Let’s take a look at the knock-on effects of his suspension.
A thread-bare squad for Jonathan Woodgate
Just when things were starting to pick up, it’s back to having the thinnest of thin squads for Middlesbrough.
With a number of injuries on their books, the last thing Woodgate would have wanted is to lose a key player such as Paddy McNair for three matches.
Matches will come thick and fast over Christmas, meaning that his absence is a huge blow.
More gametime for Adam Clayton
One man who will reap the benefits of McNair’s suspension is Adam Clayton.
The midfielder is not Jonathan Woodgate’s preferred option but he has been afforded gametime in recent weeks due to Lewis Wing’s injury.
Clayton was expected to drop back to the bench in the next few games, but with McNair out of action it seems like he’ll get an extended run in the team.
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A lack of tactical flexibility
As well as being one of Middlesbrough’s best players, he offers Jonathan Woodgate plenty of options.
McNair is most comfortable in midfield, but he’s shown that he’s capable of playing in both central defence and at full-back if required.
Losing a player as versatile as McNair could be a huge blow – particularly if Woodgate’s squad falls foul to more injuries or suspensions in the coming games.