Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has ruled winger Yannick Bolasie out of tonight’s home clash with Huddersfield Town.
There was some concern that the 31-year-old was set for a lengthy absence but those have now been allayed by Warnock, who does not see the problem as being too serious.
He said that the creator was training and could even play in the Huddersfield match if absolutely necessary, but that he wanted to be cautious with him.
“He’d want to play tomorrow, Yannick – if you saw him flying round on his indoor bike yesterday you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with him,” said Warnock in his pre-match press conference.
“It’s one of those things – if tomorrow was our last game he’d play it. It’s a similar situation to Jonny Howson earlier in the season (when the midfielder was absent for several weeks).
“Scans can be dangerous in older players. If you had a naturally fit 33 or 34-year-old, you’d always find problems because there’s damage there. You’ve got to be careful, the muscle has opened a little but not in the main tissue, only on the side.
“He’s not lost his power. We’ve just got to be careful it doesn’t blow completely. I can see him coming back in the near future.”
Also closing in on returns for Middlesbrough are Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier, though neither of the pair have made sufficient progress to be available for the visit of Huddersfield to the Riverside Stadium.
The duo have both been out of action since late January, with centre-back Fry recovering from a calf issue and midfielder Tavernier coming back from a knee injury.
Both are back in training with Fry the closer to being on the field, though a return for both could be possible within the next week.
“Tav’s maybe a few days to a week behind Dael,” Warnock said. “Like I said with Yannick – if it was the last game, Dael would play tomorrow, whereas Tav we’re probably looking at Reading or Bristol City.
“If you’d asked Tav he’d say he was ready the day after he did it, but it’s a knee problem so it’s only when you do certain things that you have the pain and you know it’s not right.”
The pair have been missed in recent weeks with Middlesbrough taking only one point from their last five Championship matches.
The gap to the play-off places has increased to six points as a result, and they will hope to get back on the right path against a Huddersfield side in even poorer form.