Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate provides fitness update on THREE first-team players
Middlesbrough head coach Jonathan Woodgate says goalkeeper Darren Randolph should be fit for next week’s Championship opener at Luton.
The Republic of Ireland international has missed Boro’s last three pre-season games with a calf injury which he picked up at Gateshead, and didn’t make the matchday squad for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with St-Etienne at the Riverside.
But despite Randolph’s recent absence, Woodgate is confident Boro have sufficient back-up with Tomas Mejias and Aynsley Pears also available.
“Darren did some work today on the grass,” said Woodgate when asked about Randolph. “If he is available for Luton then great, if not then there’s no problem because we will put in Tommy and Aynsley.
“Darren has had a slight calf strain, he should be fit but if he isn’t then I have no problem with fielding either of them. Darren is the best goalkeeper in the league by a mile, I have confidence in all of them.”
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Boro were also without captain George Friend and centre-back Dael Fry for their final pre-season fixture, with both recovering from injuries they sustained last season.
Woodgate believes Friend could return for Boro’s first home game of the season against Brentford on August 10, while Fry’s recent hamstring setback will keep him sidelined for longer.
“George is getting back to fitness. He could be pushing for Brentford but is struggling for Luton,” added Woodgate. “Dael will be a couple more weeks, I have been there before myself and I don’t want to rush him with a muscle injury.”