Injury plagued Boro get boost
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gaizka Mendieta has boosted Middlesbrough by returning to training.Middlesbrough have been boosted by the news that Spanish star Gaizka Mendieta has returned to training.
The former Valencia midfielder has missed Boro's last three games with a calf problem, but is now ready to return.
Szilard Nemeth, who was absent from the defeat to Chelsea, has also overcome a stomach bug to return to training.
However, the injuries are still piling up for Boro - who are likely to take a weakened team to face Banik Ostrava in the Uefa Cup on Thursday.
First choice strikers Mark Viduka (back) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (hamstring) are both struggling while Joseph-Desire Job (hamstring) may also not make the trip to Czech Republic.
Ugo Ehiogu is already out with a calf injury, while Chris Riggott picked up a thigh problem at the weekend - leaving veteran Colin Cooper and Gareth Southgate as the only fit central defenders, as Andrew Davies suffered a setback in his rehabilitation last week.
Ray Parlour was stretchered off with a seriously gashed knee and is also doubtful, meaning Boro could be without at least six first team regulars for their first ever European away trip.
With a 3-0 advantage, Boro boss Stave McClaren will also have one eye on Sunday's trip to Manchester United.