After losing players left right and centre due to coronavirus Chris Wilder is relieved to have a healthier looking squad in preparation for Middlesbrough’s hosting of Reading this Saturday.
Boro have won five of their last six in the Championship and have been able to thrust themselves firmly into the play-off picture as a result. Reading on the other hand were beaten by National League North side Kidderminster Harriers at the weekend and will have certainly suffered a dent in their confidence.
The Royals have won just one of their last six games and Wilder was in good spirits ahead of the match when he spoke to TeessideLive.
He said: “What we have to look at now is a huge game coming up against Reading at the weekend and ultimately it would be nice to have a nice settled, calm week for the manager and coaching staff. We’ll prepare properly and hopefully put a side out there that will go well.
“Thursday will be the huge day for us, so hopefully we have everyone back for then, which I think potentially we will do. They will all be at different stages in terms of their minutes and the medical department will monitor that and keep us right.”
It would appear that Thursday is the day that a number of players will return from isolation and back to training and in that give Wilder a lot more options ahead of the weekend.
Quiz: Can you name which club Middlesbrough signed these 28 midfielders from?
Considering the performance levels of the two sides in recent weeks, Boro will be heavy favourites at The Riverside on Saturday but that is probably a nice position for Reading to be in, certainly giving them less to lose going into the fixture. The Royals still have a three point cushion over 22nd placed Peterborough United and would be in 17th if it was not for the six point deduction they suffered.
Now the Djed Spence recall option cloud is not hanging over Boro, Isaiah Jones could be ready to play with even more freedom at right wing back and inspire the Teesside club to yet another victory. It is a very intriguing encounter for both sides for very different reasons as Boro look to reduce the seven point gap between themselves and the automatic promotion places.