Trio doubtful for Boro
Gareth Southgate has hinted Julio Arca, Mido and Fabio Rochemback will not be fit enough to return against Aston Villa.
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 28/11/07 3:54pm
Middlesbrough coach Colin Cooper has hinted Julio Arca, Mido and Fabio Rochemback will not be fit enough to return against Aston Villa.
Although the trio are nearing first-team returns, he is against rushing them back into action too soon and risking setbacks.
None of the players featured in last Friday's behind closed doors friendly with Rangers, although Cooper is refusing to rule them out of contention for this weekend.
Arca has not featured since damaging knee ligaments against Sunderland. A groin strain limited Mido to just one appearance in October, while Rochemback injured his leg against Spurs earlier this month.
"Arca, Mido and Rochemback are not ready at the moment, but they are making progress and we'll wait until the last possible minute before making a decision," he told the Evening Gazette.
"Obviously it's a big bonus to get players of this quality back on the pitch, or even on the bench.
"Arca is back in full training but Saturday's game may come a little too early for him.
"Obviously he has been fantastic for us and it was a big blow when he was injured, so we are looking forward to his return.
"Mido started like a house on fire but has had one or two niggles since.
"But we are getting closer to having key personnel back in the squad and we are looking forward to the chance to getting players back on the pitch again."