Middlesbrough’s injury list has been getting gradually smaller over recent weeks but it seems that their bad luck has reared its head once again.
While some players have been making their way back to fitness, one player who has been out of action is Daniel Ayala.
The central defender was brought off in the 2-0 away victory over Preston North End with a suspected ankle injury.
That knock was not deemed to be serious, but according to Jonathan Woodgate, it may be more serious than he thought.
Ayala sat out of the 2-1 FA Cup third round replay defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, and when asked about the defender’s fitness after the match, Woodgate said that it is worse than first feared.
Speaking about Ayala, Woodgate said: “I’d say he’ll be three or four weeks, probably four weeks.”
That means that it’s likely that Paddy McNair and Jonny Howson will continue to deputise at centre-back for the time being.
They’ve played alongside Dael Fry at the heart of the defence in recent weeks, and with a big clash against Fulham coming up, it seems that it’s a formula which will be used once again.
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The news of the latest injury setback for Daniel Ayala is a big blow.
Ayala has been a massive player for Middlesbrough so far this term and Jonathan Woodgate will not want to be without one of his real leaders.
This just emphasises the need for defensive cover as the Teessiders look particularly frail at the back.