Boro hold Woody hopes
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Gareth Southgate is hopeful Jonathan Woodgate will be fit for the start of the new season.Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate remains hopeful Jonathan Woodgate will be fit for the start of the new season as he steps up his rehabilitation from knee surgery.
The former Real Madrid defender has played no part in Boro's pre-season programme to date, but club officials remain optimistic that he will be back in time to line up for the opening fixture of the campaign against Blackburn.
After Boro's friendly defeat at Hibernian at the weekend Southgate reiterated he was hopeful that Woodgate would be ready in time for the club's opener.
"Woody is obviously a doubt for the start of the season," said Southgate.
"He's not into full training yet and with him we've got to be a bit patient.
"The recovery from the operation that he had could be 12 weeks, could be 14.
"That couple of weeks takes us into the start of the season, but we knew that was a possibility and fortunately it's a position we've got a fair amount of cover in."
A club spokesman added on Monday: "Jonathan is still in the final stages of his recovery programme and we will not rule him out at this stage."