Boro down to bare bones for cup clash
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray will be without a trio of ineligible players for his side's FA Cup fifth-round clash with Chelsea.
Midfielder Josh McEachran has not played in the competition to date under the terms of his loan agreement with the Blues, while Kieron Dyer and Sammy Ameobi are cup-tied.
Dyer played for former club QPR in a 1-1 third-round draw with West Brom, while Ameobi, who on Monday joined Boro on loan from neighbours Newcastle for the rest of the season, started the Magpies' 2-0 defeat at npower Championship Brighton at the same stage of the competition.
Mowbray will also be without striker Lukas Jutkiewicz (ankle) and central defender Jonathan Woodgate (calf), although the latter has a chance of returning for the league clash with league leaders Cardiff at the weekend.
In addition, Stuart Parnaby (hamstring tear), Justin Hoyte (hip) and Julio Arca (toe) remain on the sidelines.
Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta will both miss Chelsea's trip.
Centre-back Cahill has been struck down by a virus ahead of the trip to the Riverside, while right-back Azpilicueta is sidelined with discomfort in his leg.
Interim manager Rafael Benitez plans to rotate his squad in a bid to deal with the busy fixture list, meaning captain John Terry may be rested. Long-term absentee Oriol Romeu continues to miss out with a knee injury.
With Chelsea continuing their progress in Europe, a replay in the FA Cup would be the last thing they need, should the Blues fail to set up a quarter-final tie with Manchester United at the first time of asking.
Benitez, though, maintains the team will only be looking to the next match on what is fast becoming a packed fixture list.
"We will try to win, for sure, that would be better, no? In my head, the only thing is just to win," he said.
"The team that has played more games in Europe is Chelsea, but we have to carry on and manage the squad as well as we can.
"It is not ideal, but it is something we have to do.
"We have done it in the past with top sides and we will do the same."