Significant Middlesbrough injury blow ahead of Sunderland fixture as first-team players miss Cardiff win

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Middlesbrough team news ahead of their Championship fixture against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick was forced to make multiple changes to his side before their 2-0 win over Cardiff - with multiple first-team players absent ahead of Saturday’s fixture at Sunderland.

Following a difficult start to the season Boro have recorded three consecutive league wins against Southampton, Watford and Cardiff, with Isaiah Jones and substitute Emmanuel Latte scoring against The Bluebirds at the Riverside Stadium.

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Yet several senior players dropped out of Boro’s matchday squad, with captain Jonny Howson, defender Rav van den Berg and Nottingham Forest loanee Lewis O’Brien, who was forced off with an ankle injury against Watford on Saturday, all absent. Matt Crooks and Darragh Lenihan were only deemed fit enough to start on the bench against Cardiff, as former Sunderland academy graduate Sam Greenwood was handed his first Boro start following his loan move from Leeds.

"Rav was missing, he’s been carrying a hamstring neuro problem for a few games now so we’ll have to wait and see how he is,” said Carrick after the game. “Jonny has been ill, Darragh has been ill.

"Crooksy has had a few niggles and put a lot into the last couple of weeks, so it’s about managing the squad. Sam has done ever so well, looked sharp so I was really keen to get Sam onto the pitch and for him to play.

"It’s about managing the squad, we’re going to need everyone, whether it’s Saturday, whenever it is, the squad is important so there’s a balance to find in keeping the lads fresh and I thought we got that about right tonight."

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Carrick did confirm O’Brien will miss Saturday’s match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and looks set to be sidelined for a significant period of time.

“He won’t be back anytime soon,” Carrick explained when asked about the Forest loanee. “It will be a good few weeks, if not longer. He has specialists and surgeons to see, so we’ll keep you updated."

Boro defenders Alex Bangura and Anfernee Dijksteel are available again, though, with both starting on the bench against Cardiff after injury setbacks.

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