Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Injuries Bite to Test Boro; in Association With: Msv Sport Teamwear

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Injuries Bite to Test Boro; in Association With: Msv Sport Teamwear

Article excerpt

Byline: By ERIC PAYLOR

GARETH SOUTHGATE'S decision to keep his squad lean and mean faces its first major test of the new campaign on the south coast tomorrow.

Boro go to Portsmouth without injured duo Tuncay and Mohamed Shawky, while Jeremie Aliadiere remains a major doubt as he battles to shake off a foot injury.

David Wheater is another struggling as he copes with a severe bout of tonsillitis.

However Southgate, who is a hot tip to be named manager of the month today, remains confident that his 19-man squad will cope, saying: "It's a blow to lose Tuncay and Mohamed Shawky as a result of international injuries but that's part and parcel of the game.

"Injuries give other players the chance to come in and show what they could do."

He added: "If there's a problem it's probably on the bench where we lose a bit of experience.

"But, again, I've always said that the young players will be given a chance here."

Didier Digard looks set to replace Shawky, while Southgate may be tempted to play five across the middle tomorrow to cope with Portsmouth's wing backs.

Digard has had to wait patiently for his first Premier League start, but Southgate said: "Didier missed the last few months of last season because of injury and we have to be careful with him, especially as he is a young player from a different league.

"But we know what talent he has got and it looks like he will get his opportunity tomorrow."

Aliadiere has not trained fully since the Stoke game, though he had a run-out yesterday to test his foot.

It's hard to imagine Wheater dropping out of HOT TIP: Gareth Southgate is a favourite to be named manager of the month the squad, bearing in mind his level of commitment, but tonsillitis can be debilitating and Southgate is not counting his chickens.

Even so, the Boro boss will hear no negative talk. He said: "We prepared thoroughly during July and everything we told the players has been proved right in the opening games. …

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