Middlesbrough set for reshuffle against Reading after fresh injury concern arises
Middlesbrough have been handed another injury concern - with Stewart Downing a doubt for the visit of Reading.
Tony Pulis already has a threadbare squad to select from with three of his senior defenders - George Friend, Dani Ayala and Dael Fry - all absent through injury.
Midfielder Lewis Wing joins them on the treatment table, and Downing could be the latest name added to the injury list with Pulis admitting he is a doubt for the clash with the Royals.
However, the Boro boss will otherwise have a full squad to select from after a number of players shook off knocks.
"Stewart hurt his knee yesterday in a challenge so we're hoping he's okay," he said.
"The rest of them should be alright."
But with defensive injuries stacking-up, a further reshuffle may be required against Reading - in a game Middlesbrough must win to keep their play-off dreams alive.
And while Pulis is reluctant to make excuses, he believes the absence of several key players has left a 'big hole' in his side.
"I hate making excuses but we've got players playing out of position, and to turn it around that quick without being able to work on it - we got stretched, pulled around," he added.
"It's difficult to have a go at players who haven't played much football in the position we've asked them to play.
"You take Ayala, Wingy, Dael and George out of any team in this league and there's a big hole.
"We're trying to bridge that, and the players had done fantastically well in the previous three games.
"But we weren't good enough at Forest and we have to accept that."