STEVE AGNEW hopes Fabio da Silva could boost Middlesbrough ahead of the long trip to Bournemouth when the fight for Premier League survival is in need of a massive lift.
The Brazilian full-back was forced to withdraw from Monday’s game with Arsenal because of a knee injury and he has been monitored carefully all week.
While skipper Grant Leadbitter has been ruled out with a hamstring problem and goalkeeper Victor Valdes has not recovered from a rib injury, Fabio could still figure against the Cherries.
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Agnew said: “It’s good news on Fabio, it’s not as bad as first thought. We will have a look in the morning to see if he can make the weekend. Grant’s hamstring is sore, he will miss the game.
“Victor’s ribs are really sore, so he will miss the game as well. Rudy Gestede got a kick to the heel, or his instep, but trained well this morning.
“Victor hurt it against Burnley, carried on and then trained through the pain the majority of last week, but couldn’t play against Arsenal. It is difficult with ribs, they are very sore and uncomfortable.”
Middlesbrough ran Arsenal close on Monday but ultimately suffered another defeat in the fight for survival. They remain six points shy of safety with six matches remaining, although the dates with Bournemouth and Sunderland next Wednesday will go a long way in determining the club’s top-flight future.
Head coach Agnew, without a win from his first five matches, said: “I was really pleased against Arsenal, the players were disappointed they lost the game.
“But I was pleased with the effort, the intensity they played with and we remain confident of the game against Bournemouth. I don’t think it’s looking at the difficult fixtures, it’s just we have to go to Bournemouth to win the game and we will set up to win the game.
“I think what we have seen when we have watched games back is that there is lots of positivity in our forward play. The chances are being created, even if not going in and that’s not through want of trying.
“The combination of short and long passes, set pieces have come in. It’s either been cleared off the line, good saves, we just need all of that to come together on Saturday.”
Agnew replaced Aitor Karanka in March and there has been no hint chairman Steve Gibson is seeing a different man to succeed the Spaniard on a permanent basis.
And Agnew said: “There is so much work going on behind scenes, all the staff, all players, everyone connected with the club, the focus is on the next game and that’s what we will continue to do. It is a really sensible thing to.”