JASON Steele is ready to play through the pain barrier as Middlesbrough bid to record a first league win since Boxing Day.
Boro, who drew 2-2 at Leicester City on Wednesday extending their winless streak to five matches, entertain Crystal Palace tomorrow afternoon.
Steele replaced veteran Danny Coyne for that midweek trip to take on the Foxes having missed three matches with a thigh strain.
But now the England Under-21 goalkeeper has revealed he’s also nursing a wrist complaint, but he was never going to say no when Tony Mowbray asked him to return to man the posts.
“I trained last week hoping to be involved in the game at Sunderland, but I had a nasty setback with the wrist I injured in the summer and I wasn’t expecting to be involved for a little bit longer,” he said.
“But we got the all-clear with the x-rays and playing wasn’t going to make it much worse.
“Had Danny (Coyne) been fit I don’t know whether I’d have been in the team but the manager asked me if I could play and I straight away said, ‘yes’.
“There wasn’t another thought. Obviously I’m in a bit of pain but from the minute he said, ‘can you play for me’ it was never an option to say ‘no’.
“I’m still a little bit sore and on all sorts of painkillers but I got through it, so I’m happy.”
Steele produced a number of impressive saves and pulled off a spectacular first half stop to deny Jermaine Beckford.
However, he was finally beaten by the former Leeds and Everton man when he was unable to beat him to a short back-pass from Tony McMahon, who had put Boro ahead with a stunning free-kick a few minutes earlier.
“He passed it short and I tried to get there but unfortunately Beckford stuck his leg out at the right time,” said Steele.
“Tony was brilliant from start to finish. He’s put that free-kick right in the top corner and things like this happen in football, you’re a hero one minute and the next minute you’re not.
“We’re all disappointed not to have come away with three points, but every single one of us would have taken a point in the form that Leicester are in and the form we’re not in.
“We’ve stopped the losing run and that was the most important thing. We’ve had a difficult time in recent weeks but we’ve stuck together through injuries.”
Meanwhile, Scott McDonald could miss the next 13 games after suffering a medial knee ligament injury at Leicester.
The Aussie international scored Boro’s equaliser at the King Power Stadium but later limped off the pitch.
And a disappointed Mowbray said: “He’s done a medial knee ligament, same as Nicky Bailey, it’s a disappointment for us of course, and he’ll be out for six to eight weeks or so.
“He’s desperately unhappy and it’s another big loss for us.”
Marvin Emnes suffered a slight hamstring twinge and was withdrawn as a precaution but Mowbray is hopeful he’ll be fit for the visit of Palace.