Skipper Gary O'Neil has given Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan a welcome boost by returning from a knee injury.
The 27-year-old midfielder played the second half of Saturday's 0-0 npower Championship draw at Leicester in which summer signing Kevin Thompson fractured his fibula a week after Willo Flood dislocated his kneecap.
O'Neil told the club's official website: "When I first felt my knee I thought it was only going to be a few days, so it was longer than expected in one way.
"It's dragged on and I have had to have some intense treatment and some injections and stuff to try to sort the problem out and hopefully that's me back now.
"It was a little bit early - I didn't expect to play that long, really. If things had been going a bit better and we had looked a bit more comfortable, I probably wouldn't have been used that early.
"But I was pleased I could help out and pleased we got a positive result."