RYAN Fredericks is a ready-made replacement for Damia Abella who is sidelined for six months, Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka says, writes CHRIS BELL.
A knee injury suffered in Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Cardiff was confirmed as a broken ACL yesterday for the Spanish full-back.
The former Barcelona La Liga champion had settled into the Championship well but is now facing an expected six months out injured.
Frustrated by the injury, though praising Damia’s positivity “he is already thinking about his next game”, Karanka says that Tottenham loanee Frederick is an ample substitution.
“Ryan is ready. It’s not a coincidence but I told him on Monday that he would play tomorrow [at home to Brentford, kick off 3pm]. I wanted to rest Damia,” he said.
“I spoke to Ryan and he is ready. He is an agile, powerful lad. He’s not big but has energy and goes forward to attack.
“He also knows the league after playing with Millwall last season.
“We are working with defensively as he needs to improve that side of his game.”
Fredericks will make his debut against the club he made his first four league appearances for, having been loaned to the Bees in 2012.
Aside from the 21-year-old facing his old employers, the game also represents a chance for Boro to start amending their faltering home form.
In their previous two home games they were beaten and performed poorly against Sheffield Wednesday and Reading.
The game, then, is important to show the Riverside support that Karanka’s side are promotion contenders. The Spaniard’s optimistic: “We need to win at home again as the last two [home] games were very bad.
“We are in a good mood now.
“We have more consistency than we did in the week when we lost against Sheffield Wednesday and Reading.
“I’m more confident now, as we are playing better and we have a lot of choices [to select players from].
“It would be the best celebration as it would be another three points and for me that’s important as we keep showing everyone we are a very good team with a good squad.”
It is not just Karanka seeking home improvements - the players themselves have issued their own rallying call.
Speaking to BBC Tees, Karanka added: “The players know me and the way I work.
“They are intelligent and they are the first people who want to forget our last two games at home.
“We have to keep the same intensity of the last two games.”