Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has admitted that neither Daniel Ayala nor Patrick Roberts will be able to play in all of Boro’s final nine league games.
Speaking about the condensed fixture period which will see the Championship play two games a week from June 20th onwards, Woodgate says the pair are not fit enough to play through such an intense schedule:
“Ayala hasn’t played since New Year’s Day, Patrick Roberts has been out for six months, so we can’t expect them to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday for the rest of the season. It’s going to be difficult (but) we’ve got a big enough squad now that we can hopefully cope.”
Ayala is back in training following an ankle problem but, as Woodgate mentions, he has not played a competitive game for a long time and won’t have the minutes in his legs to play every three to four days.
Roberts is in a similar boat with the Manchester City loanee having sustained a hamstring injury early on during his spell at the Riverside Stadium, and he hasn’t featured for the Teessiders since the 1-1 draw against Birmingham in late January.
Combined with the prospect of players having to self-isolate with COVID-19, Boro’s squad could become very stretched before the end of the campaign.