Jonathan Woodgate provides injury update on THREE first-team Middlesbrough players
Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate hopes three of his senior players will be available for the start of the Championship season next month.
Defensive trio George Friend, Daniel Ayala and Dael Fry all missed the recent pre-season friendlies against Gateshead and Hartlepool through injury, yet all three are nearing a return.
Fry (hamstring) and Friend (hip) are both recovering from setbacks they suffered last season, while Ayala limped off during the recent match against Grazer AK in Austria.
Woodgate, though, hopes to have a fully-fit squad for next month’s season opener at Luton, and insists everyone will be fighting for their place.
In Friend’s absence Patrick Reading and Hayden Coulson have taken their opportunities to impress, with Woodgate keen to promote the club’s young prospects.
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When asked about Boro’s injury situation following Sunday’s 4-0 win over Hartlepool, Woodgate replied: “I hope the three lads will be ready for the start of the season, but they’re fighting for positions.
“When Dael and Dani come back they’ll be fighting for a place in the team. The same is true of George. He’s got people to push him. Paddy Reading and Hayden Coulson are pushing George Friend.
“It’s not a case of, ‘Well he’s going to play’ or ‘He’s going to play’. I’m telling you now, whoever is playing well will play. It’s simple.”
On Boro’s competition for places Woodgate added: “Every place is up for grabs, the goalkeeper’s place too. Every place is up for grabs, simple.”