Middlesbrough FC team news: The players set to miss Watford match | OneFootball

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Football League World

·30 September 2023

Middlesbrough FC team news: The players set to miss Watford match

Article image:Middlesbrough FC team news: The players set to miss Watford match

It's been far from a positive start to the 2023/24 Championship campaign for last season's play-off semi-finalists Middlesbrough, who are now without the core of the squad that got them there in the first place.

At the time of writing, they sit 22nd in the league standings, having claimed just one win from eight matches.

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However, that victory did emerge last weekend as they put an out-of-form Southampton side to the sword at the Riverside Stadium through goals either side of the interval from Riley McGree and Jonny Howson.

That said, their away form has been especially sore and their only point on the road to date came in a rather bleak 1-1 draw against strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.

That'll be very much in the mind as they travel to face Vicarage Road for this weekend's affair with Watford, but they'll be doing so with some absences.

Here, then, we'll be running you through all the Boro players that aren't in contention for the trip down south...

Alex Bangura

The left-back has endured harsh fortunes since making the move to Boro from Cambuur last month.

He went off with a hamstring injury on his debut away to Blackburn Rovers and is not yet ready to return to proceedings as explained by Michael Carrick, although the Boro boss has still emphasized that time is very much on his side.

He said of Bangura on Thursday: "It’s frustrating for him, no denying that, but he’s a good lad and he’s got his head down and he’s working hard.

"His career at Middlesbrough isn’t going to be defined by one or two weeks now, it’s a process and so we have a responsibility to make sure that he’s right to perform.

"We look after him and he’s fine. He’s training hard to get fit, as you might expect, and there is plenty of time for him to improve, develop and become a big part of the group."

Matthew Clarke

It's been nearly a year since the defender was involved in a competitive fixture following a lengthy injury lay-off that's really plagued his career on Teesside.

But a fairly recent update from Carrick has revealed that he's now not too far from a recovery, with the ex-Manchester United stalwart explaining a couple of weeks back: "It's brilliant for Clarkey, he's obviously been out for a long period of time.

"To have him back round the group and managing his training load after so long out, it's important we look after him and do the right things and we're patient.

"We're delighted to have him back around training with the boys and managing him through his next steps.

"He's been out a long period of time and he's still managing his training."

Are there any other players that could miss Middlesbrough's match against Watford?

Those are, of course, the confirmed absentees, but there's also some players who are touch and go.

Marcus Forss has been sidelined for his side's last three fixtures with a thigh issue, and while Carrick told The Northern Echo that he hopes the forward can be back around the group, it's unclear whether he'll actually be involved in a playing capacity.

It's similarly uncertain for Rav van den Berg too, who was hauled off during Boro's win over Southampton with a hamstring injury and didn't make the cut for their subsequent EFL Cup third round advancement away at Bradford City.

Carrick said of the defender: "Rav is a little bit touch and go, we'll have to wait and see.

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