Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Steele Is Set for an Early Boro Return

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Steele Is Set for an Early Boro Return

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

GOALKEEPER Jason Steele could be rushed back ahead of schedule tonight to protect teenager Connor Ripley. The Middlesbrough stopper (right) has missed the last three games with a thigh injury and while still not 100%, he could return for tonight's trip to Leicester City.

If not, Boro would have to pitch 18-yearold Ripley - son of Tony Mowbray's former team-mate Stuart - into only his second Championship game.

Ripley was an 80th-minute substitute in Sunday's 1-1 FA Cup fourth round draw at Sunderland.

He replaced the experienced Danny Coyle, who limped off with the calf problem which has ruled him out of tonight's trip to the East Midlands.

Steele, though, seems likely to at least make the bench.

Mowbray said: "Jason has had his gloves on this week although he did not join in with the squad.

"He is desperate to join in and there is a fair chance we will take a chance on him on Wednesday.

"He is not 100% fit and yet he has been told the injury is something which could deteriorate unless he takes another bad knock on it - he is just managing the pain at the moment.

"We will make a decision today whether we go with Connor Ripley or Jason Steele.

"Between the player, the head physio and myself we will make a decision on what is right for Jason."

Ripley endured an uncomfortable senior debut at home to Burnley in mid-January. The youngster was widely held to be at fault for Kieran Trippier's long-range goal in the 2-0 defeat.

Boro have high hopes for the goalkeeper but would be more relaxed with Steele between the posts.

Newton Aycliffe-born Steele is only three years older but his last Championship appearance, at home to Blackpool on January 2, was his 50th.

Whoever is in goal may at least be spared the in-form Jermaine Beckford. The Foxes striker has scored five goals in his last three matches. …

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