Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate fears that three of his midfielders could miss Saturday's Premier League clash against Sunderland after Didier Digard picked up a knee injury in the 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth.
The 22-year-old Frenchman suffered a twisted knee at Fratton Park to join Mohamed Shawky and Julio Arca on the sidelines.
Gary O'Neil is now Boro's only recognised experienced midfielder and Southgate faces the prospect of fielding full-back Andrew Taylor in midfield against the Black Cats.
He said: "Digard twisted his knee a bit and we'll be assessing him this week. At this moment it's impossible to say whether he'll miss games or how long he'll be out.
"But you expect to pick up injuries. As a manager you have to deal with them.
"I had no problems asking Andrew Taylor to play in midfield on Saturday. It's something we know that he can do."
Meanwhile, Southgate is investigating the possibility of claiming compensation from the Egyptian and Turkish FAs after Shawky and Tuncay returned to Teesside from international duty with injuries.