Boro sweat over Alves
Gareth Southgate is hoping Afonso Alves will be fit for this weekend's clash with Portsmouth.
Last Updated: 09/03/09 3:25pm
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate is hoping record signing Afonso Alves will be fit for this weekend's clash with Portsmouth.
Alves missed Boro's FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Everton and Southgate revealed it was down to a stomach bag.
Southgate has confirmed Alves was quarantined away from the rest of the squad in the hope he will have recovered without spreading the bug to his team-mates.
"Alves went down with the illness on Friday night and we didn't feel he would be well enough to play at Everton," said Southgate.
"We also wanted to keep him away from the rest of the squad.
"He's had the weekend to try to shake it off and we'll have a look at him, but he should be okay to return to the squad against Portsmouth at the weekend."
Southgate is also sweating over the fitness of Matthew Bates and Justin Hoyte ahead of this weekend's crucial clash with Portsmouth.
Both players were forced off during the loss at Everton.
"Bates suffered from the impact of a tackle and we thought it was best to bring him off," he continued.
"We are assessing him and Hoyte, but hopefully it's nothing too serious.
"We need to keep all our players fit for the games which lie ahead of us."