Daniel Ayala is out of Middlesbrough’s Sky Bet Championship clash with Derby on Saturday as the club awaits news on the extent of his ankle injury.
Defender Ayala is to see a second specialist next week to be given a new assessment of the damage he sustained during the 2-0 win at Preston on New Year’s Day which kept him out of Sunday’s FA Cup third-round draw with Premier League Tottenham.
Striker Britt Assombalonga (ankle) will miss out once again, as will George Friend (tendon), Ryan Shotton (ankle) and Anfernee Dijksteel (knee), while goalkeeper Darren Randolph is close to sealing a return to former club West Ham.
Loan signings Patrick Roberts and Lukas Nmecha, who were handed debuts against Spurs, could get a first taste of league action for the club.
Derby boss Phillip Cocu is likely to restore his bigger names to the starting line-up after making nine changes for last weekend’s FA Cup victory at Crystal Palace.
Only experienced duo Curtis Davies and Wayne Rooney were retained from the side which had started against Barnsley three days earlier for the game at Selhurst Park.
Striker Chris Martin will hope his winner against the top-flight side earns him another start, while midfielder Tom Huddlestone got 75 minutes under his belt in his first senior appearance since October after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Krystian Bielik will again be unavailable as he completes a three-match ban following his sending-off during the 2-1 league win over Charlton on December 30 and – while Graeme Shinnie is close to a return – Mason Bennett is still out and George Evans is awaiting a further scan.