Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis reveals big injury concern ahead of QPR clash
Tony Pulis has revealed George Friend is an injury concern for Middlesbrough ahead of the visit of QPR.
Promotion-chasing Boro are fifth, seven points off the top two and three clear of Derby County in seventh, ahead of the visit of QPR to the Riverside on Saturday (KO 3pm).
Boro could be without skipper Friend for the visit of Steve McClaren's side, who have lost their last six league games.
Friend was replaced by Paddy McNair in the second half at Blackburn Rovers last weekend while Aden Flint was also sidelined for that one with a hamstring injury.
Pulis is boosted, however, by the return of Dani Ayala after serving his one-match suspension.
"We've got a couple of problems," said Pulis.
"There's Flinty, and George Friend came off so we're not sure if he'll be fit.
"Shotts is still struggling a bit, so we've got to be careful with Ryan and how we handle that situation.
"We're carrying a few at the moment, but I think everybody will have one or two will be at this time of the season.
"They are big misses, but you look over the season with the amount of games you play in the Championship, and we've played an extra eight cup games on top of that.
"If you're going at one game a week, that's another two months of football.
"It adds up and you are going to pick up injuries on the way, but you have to get on with it."
Sign up to our daily newsletter
Boro go into the game on the back of the 1-0 win at Ewood Park and Pulis was pleased with the impact of his forward players, adding: "I was pleased with [Ashley] Fletcher, I was pleased with how everyone did.
"We had a good look at it and there were other decision to be made, whether we went with Mo [Besic] or Clayts, Fletch or Tav.
"If you listen to some people and it's just throwing balls up in the air.
"But it's never like that, and it will never be like that with me.
"We make what we think is the right decision for the team and we'll do that again on Saturday.
"There's no hiding from the fact that we've done better away from home than the Riverside.
"We've got to improve the results there and if our home form was better, who knows where we would be in the league. Last year we struggled away from home and we couldn't stop winning at home. That's the way it works sometimes.
"There's still a lot of games left and a lot of points available. The next game is always going to be the most important one and you can always pull together a strong run.
"You've got to stay focused - Wolves did exceptionally well last year, Cardiff did well too, but most of the time you find that it goes down to the last game.
"The Championship is a very good league and it's very competitive in lots of way."