NATHANIEL MENDEZ-LAING is set to be involved in the Middlesbrough squad to face Derby County tomorrow, but both Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier remain major injury doubts for the game at Pride Park.

Mendez-Laing joined Boro as a free agent on deadline day, but his lack of match fitness meant he was not considered for last weekend’s defeat to Brentford.

He has another week of training under his belt now though, and is set to feature on the substitutes’ bench tomorrow.

Boro boss Neil Warnock said: “We didn’t want to risk Mendez last week, and he’s a little bit behind the other two (Yannick Bolasie and Neeskens Kebano).

“But he’s had a good week this week in training, and so has Kebano. It’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve come and whether I can use Mendez for 20 minutes or half-an-hour if possible, just to give him a run.

“We’ve got a tough run of games coming up, and he did look very good yesterday (in training), I must admit. But it’s different in half a game with half a pitch than a full pitch at full speed.

“It’s a whole different ball game so we’ve just got to be a little bit careful when these players have been out for so long.”

Fry was unable to feature in the Brentford defeat after picking up a calf problem in the previous weekend’s goalless draw with Norwich.

The centre-half’s latest issue is at least partially a result of him being unable to train while he was recovering from the eye injury he sustained against Blackburn, and while he has not been completely ruled out of tomorrow’s game with Derby, he is currently regarded as unlikely to start.

Warnock said: “They’ve (Fry and Tavernier) done some training this week, the pair of them, although I haven’t seen them this morning.

“I’m not aware of any upsurge in fitness that makes me really buoyant that they’re going to be involved. Dael is likely to tell me that he’s okay, but I’ve not heard anything at the moment.”