Fourth place Middlesbrough will hope to move, temporarily anyway, into second place in the table when they take on Cardiff on Tuesday.
Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka saw his side go four matches unbeaten with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield at the weekend. The result kept ‘Boro in touch with the chasing pack and left them four points off leaders, Bournemouth.
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While Lee Tomlin’s brace sealed the win over the Terriers, it was the performance of keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos that drew most praise.
The Greek shot-stopper pulled off three world-class saves late on to seal the three pints with Karanka hailing his ability.
“He’s the type of player I would have liked to have in my squad during my playing career” Karanka said.
The former Real Madrid defender is set to report an almost full bill of health for the clash on Tuesday with full-backs, Emilio Nsue, currently on African Nations Cup duty with Equatorial Guinea, and Ryan Fredericks [thigh muscle injury] the only missing personnel.
Long term absentees Damia Abella, utility-man Rhys Williams and Muzzy Carayol all remain out ensuring that the coach is likely to maintain faith with the same starting XI.
The only big decision facing the club is whether to risk Daniel Ayala. The defender will be walking a disciplinary tightrope against Cardiff with a 10th booking of the season set to rule him out of the glamour tie with Manchester City.
Cardiff could again be without top scorer Kenwyne Jones when they make the long trip to the North East.
The former Stoke forward is struggling with a hip injury with Alex Revell likely to keep his place.
Revell scored a goal and created another on a productive debut while Kadeem Harris will also hope to start after coming off the bench to score in the 3-2 loss to Norwich.