MIDDLESBROUGH were today keeping their fingers crossed that Matthew Bates has NOT suffered a fifth cruciate knee ligament injury of his career.
Boro are waiting on news of the scan on the right knee their skipper injured early in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Ipswich.
Bates will definitely miss Saturday’s fourth against fifth clash at Brighton and, given Boro’s injury woes,has recalled Stephen McManus from his loan spell at Bristol City.
Boro are already without Rhys Williams, one of the side’s stand-out performers this season, with ankle ligament damage.
Boro though are hopeful Seb Hines, who was also substituted in Tuesday night’s trip to Portman Road, will be fit after taking a knock to the head.
With the emergency loan window closed, Boro are going to have to soldier on with the players they have got, with Mowbray admitting: “I tried very hard last week to get centre-backs in on loan.
“I got pretty close, to be fair, but at the 11th hour the manager of the team we were talking to decided against it.”
The versatile Tony McMahon will be called in to play alongside Bates for the trip to the south coast.
Bates suffered the first of his cruciate knee injuries when on loan at Ipswich in 2006.
He damaged his left knee the following year before injury his right knee in 2008 and 09.