Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has gave some early team news ahead of the trip to Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon.

The Welshman was speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, and addressed the defensive injury crisis the team is currently facing.

First choice defensive duo Ryan Shotton and Aden Flint are both facing a spell on the sidelines, and won’t feature against the Blues.

“Ryan and Flinty will miss out, which is a blow for us because those two are top players for this football club” he said.

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But Pulis did confirm those that will be coming in to replace them, with Danny Batth and Dael Fry expected to play from the start away at St. Andrews at the weekend. There was also specific praise for 21-year old Fry, who has featured heavily for the Teessiders so far this season.

“Danny Batth will come in and Dael [Fry] will play, and those two have done exceptionally well as well. I’ve got great faith in Dael, I think eventually he’s going to be a top player for this club.

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“We’ve trained really well this week, and hopefully we’re going there with a real good and confident spirit.”

Another who won’t start the game will be new loan signing Rajiv van La Parra, who joined the club earlier this month from Huddersfield Town.

“He’s looked a lot better this week, a lot sharper,” said Pulis.

“But he’s still not ready. He hadn’t played since October, so we know where we are with him and what we’ve got to do.

“We know he’s capable of doing things for us, but at the moment, we’ll most probably still have to use him as a game changer rather than a starter. But we understood that when we signed him.”

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