Middlesbrough handed injury boost as defensive duo return to training ahead of Brentford

Tony Pulis has seen two Middlesbrough defenders return to action ahead of the visit of Brentford
Tony Pulis has seen two Middlesbrough defenders return to action ahead of the visit of Brentford

Middlesbrough have been handed an injury boost after two key defenders returned to training.

Tony Pulis' side had looked light at the back in recent weeks, with the Boro boss claiming he had 'run out' of defenders prior to the trip to Blackburn Rovers.

But the injury crisis now looks to be coming towards an end with two senior players having returned to training this week.

George Friend has trained for the majority of the week with the Teessiders, while Aden Flint also returned to the training pitch after an extended spell on the sidelines.

And while Pulis is not sure whether they will be fit for the visit of Brentford, he is delighted to see the pair close in on a return to action.

"George Friend has trained this week and Flinty has come at the back end, yesterday," revealed the Boro chief.

"They're getting fit. Whether they'll be fit enough to go tomorrow [against Brentford], we'll have to see.

"To have George back in around us for almost a week has been great.

"He's a very influential lad around the place and has been a great pro since I've been through the door."

Boro are refusing to give up on automatic promotion with a dozen games remaining, but Pulis is keen not to plot a path to the top two.

Instead, he is simply preparing his side for each game as it comes and drilling into his players that they will have to remain focused throughout.

"I'm not a great believer in 'we're going to win this one, we're not going to win that one, that one is more difficult'," admitted Pulis.

"You have to take it on merit. You have to make the players understand that every game they play will be tough and they have to be on it to get the result this football club wants.

"The players know it won't be easy, they're a very good team.

"They've got two or three outstanding players, and I mean outstanding.

"We know if we're not on it then they're more than capable of beating us."