Fresh doubt for Boateng
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
George Boateng admits he may be forced onto the sidelines once again.Middlesbrough star George Boateng admits he may be forced onto the sidelines once again.
The Dutch midfielder took a knock to his toe against Newcastle on Wednesday.
It was the same toe he broke earlier this season and forced him out of action for three months.
Boateng wants to play on through the pain, but admits he needs to look to the future.
"The guy stood on my toe, the one that had been broken, and I was in pain," he said.
"I was really in pain and thought I had the same feeling as when I broke it. I don't know if I will need an x-ray
"It will be difficult [to carry on playing] and I have to look at the long term because I want to be ready for next season.
"But if I have to play with pain I will. Maybe I will have to have an injection because we don't have anybody else."
As well as Boateng, Boro will also have to check on Gareth Southgate before Saturday's clash at Liverpool.
The Boro skipper sustained a nasty gash after clashing heads with Alan Shearer and he needed ten stitches, making him a doubt for the Anfield match.
"He has had about ten stitches - it's a hell of a gash," said McClaren.
"But Gareth epitomised our performance. In all probability, he should have come off, but he wanted to stay on and see out the last ten minutes because if he had gone for stitches, it would have taken them half an hour to stitch it, as it did after the game.
"In away games, coming here, you need to sweat blood, and he certainly did that.
"We will have to wait and see for the weekend, but knowing Gareth he will want to play because we are so close to that prize that we want. He will not want to miss out."
Major boosts for Boro on the injury front was that Tony McMahon, Stuart Parnaby, Michael Reiziger and James Morrison have all returned to full training.