How Jonathan Woodgate reacted to Marcus Browne's injury against Manchester United
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate has defended his decision to let Marcus Browne play for the under-23 side on Monday night after the 21-year-old winger suffered a hamstring injury.
Woodgate was at the Riverside when Browne went down without any contact against Manchester United Under-23s and had to be substituted after just seven minutes.
Boro already have a large injury list and could be without nine players for this weekend’s trip to QPR, where the Teessiders will be hoping to end an eight-game winless run.
“I watched the 23s and when Browne went down I had my head in my hands,” said Woodgate. “I need players to be fit when they do play so the best way to get minutes into them is to play for the 23s, it was Man United at home as well so a good game to play in.
When asked if he has already started to pick his team for the weekend, Woodgate replied: “I have started to look at the team. We have some good players available still. Sometimes you never know with injuries, and you go somewhere and the home team might not fancy it, you never know.
“The bench has been young so we will have to play some young players.”
That last point was highlighted during last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at Derby County, where four of Boro’s six outfield substitutes had played for the club’s under-23 side earlier that week.
Boro are particularly light up front, with Ashley Fletcher sidelined due to a calf injury which he sustained in training.
The situation has become so desperate that 20-year-old Tyrone O'Neill was recalled from National League North side Darlington on Wednesday and could now be drafted straight into the squad.
When asked about his attacking options, Woodgate said: My options are Britt (Assombalonga), Stephen Walker … that’s it.
“I can bring people back from loan. Tyrone O’Neil is coming back from Darlington. He has played for them in the National League and scored a few goals.
“It’s huge for us to have to do that. That’s where we are. It’s an opportunity.”