Garry Monk has revealed Middlesbrough striker Rudy Gestede will be back training within a fortnight following a freak thigh injury.
The forward hasn’t featured for Boro since August after requiring surgery on a bleed in his leg sustained during a training session but Monk has confirmed he is closing in on a return.
“We’re expecting Rudy Gestede back out into training in less than two weeks time,” said Monk.
“The squad is very competitive, and we have difficult decisions to make every week but that’s a good thing.”
The Boro boss has also moved to quickly draw a line under Adama Traore’s absence from the matchday squad at Barnsley after he turned up late for the team bus.
Monk, speaking ahead of the home game with Cardiff City at the Riverside tomorrow (KO 3pm), said Traore has trained well with all parties quickly moving on.
On Traore, Monk added: “It’s all been dealt with in-house, he trained very well this week and showed a good attitude. We’ve moved on.
“The rules and code we follow is part of the culture we are trying to make.
“As long as everyone learns from their mistakes and shows a good attitude we move on very quickly.”
Boro are 11th in the Championship, three points adrift of the final play-off place ahead of the visit of Neil Warnock’s high-flying Cardiff, currently sitting in the second automatic spot after winning seven of their opening 12 games.
Boro have only managed four league wins and head into the Riverside clash on the back of a 2-2 draw at Barnsley but Monk remains calm and confident Boro will soon climb the table.
“I think overall we’ve made big improvements,” added Monk.
“On Saturday, for instance, we were fluid in our attacking movements and we created enough chances to win the game.
“We need to be more clinical and cut out the mistakes which at the moment we’re being punished for.
“Cardiff have started the season very well and it will be a tough test for us.”
“But again, in our last match at the Riverside there were good points to draw on. It’s a good opportunity this weekend to show what we’re made of.
“Knowing Neil Warnock’s teams they’ll be difficult to beat and their start doesn’t surprise me. But we have to focus on ourselves.”