Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis is facing a defensive crisis after Daniel Ayala and Dael Fry were ruled out of Friday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with Stoke.
Spaniard Ayala was carried off after suffering a knee injury during last Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Hull and is struggling to feature again as the campaign draws to a close.
Fry tore a hamstring in training earlier this week and will be sidelined for 12 weeks, meaning he will play no part for England at this summer’s European Under-21 Championship.
With full-back George Friend having already had to write off the remainder of the campaign because of a thigh problem, Pulis will have to use the depth of his squad as he looks for a third successive league win.
Stoke manager Nathan Jones will have defender Tom Edwards available after he completed his one-match ban in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Rotherham.
Edwards was suspended after being sent off for a second bookable offence during the 3-1 defeat at Swansea in the previous game.
Skipper Ryan Shawcross played against the Millers following his recovery from a back problem as Jones was forced to field four central defenders with no match-fit full-backs available, although Moritz Bauer was an unused substitute and will hope for a chance.
Midfielder Tom Ince has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and continues to work his way back.