Middlesbrough drew 1-1 at home to Stoke City last night.
Chuba Akpom netted his 23rd Championship goal of the season to hand Boro the lead last night, but Stoke City equalised before the break and managed to hold on for a point. The draw keeps Middlesbrough in 3rd but closes the gap on Sheffield United in 2nd to just three points, with the Blades in action v Sunderland tonight.
And last night’s game saw Dael Fry return to the bench after a bout of illness, but midfielder Matt Crooks was missing for a third-straight game through injury.
Speaking to The Northern Echo after last night’s game, Boro boss Michael Carrick said of the 29-year-old:
“He was close for this one. We’ll see for the weekend. He might be there, he might just miss out, it’s touch and go again, we’ll wait and see.”
Middlesbrough host Preston North End on Saturday in what is their final game before the international break.
A visit from Preston is another tough assignment for Boro. Preston are in decent form having picked up a 2-1 win at Rotherham United last night, extending their unbeaten run in the Championship to seven.
And if Crooks can return to the squad for Saturday then it’ll be a huge boost for Middlesbrough. Crooks has featured 29 times in the league so far this season, scoring six and assisting five more after recording 10 goals and two assists in the last campaign.
But his injury doesn’t look to be a serious one and so Carrick will be expecting to have him back for a potential play-off bout at the end of the campaign.