Middlesbrough could be set to welcome back up to three sidelined players for tomorrow’s clash with Stoke City – although it may come slightly too soon for midfielder Marcus Tavernier.
Boro are looking to get back on track after suffering a gut-wrenching defeat against Swansea City last weekend, which was controversial for more than one reason.
Frustration got the better of the squad and subsequently the club were charged by the FA this week for their conduct after the final whistle at the Liberty Stadium.
Warnock and co need to forget about that now and the best way to do that is to get back to winning ways, and their match against Stoke provides a good, realistic opportunity to do just that.
One player that will definitely be welcomed back into the fold is Darnell Fisher, who will be replacing Anfernee Dijksteel who is missing for the rest of the season.
“It’s been an Achilles problem,” Warnock told the Northern Echo of Fisher’s injury.
“I had a word with him yesterday and he says it’s a lot better now, he hardly feels it. So, I think Darnell will be involved this week, for sure.”
A more long-term issue this season been striker Ashley Fletcher, who had been missing for the best part of four months due to a hamstring injury until his return in January.
The former Manchester United man suffered a further setback though against Bristol City, but he came back into training this week and Warnock is deliberating his inclusion.
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“I’m tempted not to play him, but I’ll see Fletch later,” the Boro boss said.
“He’s going to train with us, and when you see him train, you think he’s fit.”
One player who is a big doubt, but not entirely ruled out is Tavernier, who missed the Swansea game due to an ankle injury.
“We have had a scan, and his ankle has ballooned and is black all the way round,” Warnock said on the 21-year-old.
“He will get pain, but I think he should be okay.
“I might not risk him tomorrow, but I think he should be okay next week to be involved at some stage before the international break.”
Tavernier would once again be a big creative miss for Boro, but it’s important that he isn’t rushed back as that could harm his development.
It will be good to get Fletcher back though for Warnock, who is lacking a consistent goalscorer at the top end of the pitch and if given the opportunity, Fletcher could be that man.
And whilst it’s not ideal to lose a player like Dijksteel for months, Fisher is a more-than adequate replacement – Warnock won’t want any further injuries though as his squad is quite stretched as it is…