Boksic returns to boost Middlesbrough

Damian Spellman
Sunday 15 December 2013 03:31
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The Middlesbrough striker Alen Boksic is close to a return from injury to increase manager Steve McClaren's striking options once again.

The 32-year-old Croatian international missed Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Charlton with a bruised foot picked up during his country's 2-0 defeat in Bulgaria last week, but is expected to return to training today.

Szilard Nemeth and Joseph-Desiré Job were the men asked to support record signing Massimo Maccarone at The Valley, but Boksic had started the two Premiership games before being injured, a 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur and the 2-0 defeat of Bolton at the Riverside Stadium.

The midfielder George Boateng is also expected to resume training after suffering a knock to his ankle against Charlton, while the full-back Robbie Stockdale continues to receive treatment for a bruised heel suffered on international duty with Scotland, although he played most of Sunday's game.

The defeat at Charlton ended a run of four successive wins for Boro, who nevertheless lie in fifth place in the Premiership table after a hugely encouraging start to the season. However, they face Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea in their next four league games, a run which may well have a greater say in where they eventually finish than what has gone before.

Tottenham's Christian Ziege will not risk returning from his lengthy injury problems until convinced he is "100 per cent fit".

The German wing-back suffered ankle problems in April and August – either side of competing for Germany in the World Cup – and has had this season disrupted by two calf injuries, the second a tear which has kept him out for a month.

"I'm doing my rehab and hope to be back soon," the 30-year-old former Middlesbrough and Liverpool player said. "But I don't want to push it, as I've maybe had a few injuries in the last couple of months because my body wasn't really fit. When I come back this time, I want to be 100 per cent fit and not get another injury."

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