MIDDLESBROUGH go into their final game of the season against Preston North End with a full compliment of players to choose from a Deepdale.

Paddy McNair has overcome his bout of illness that kept him out of last week’s win at Stoke City and is available for selection again. Darnell Fischer and Sammy Ameobi both remain long term absentees and are not expected back at any point this season should Boro reach the play-offs.

The news has been welcomed by manager Chris Wilder who will select a team searching for a result that could hopefully see them climb into the Championship play-offs.

Wilder paid tribute to the way they players handled themselves as he said in this morning’s press conference: “Yes. It’s a unique situation. We have a full compliment of players to choose from. One thing I will say, it’s not about hard luck and bad luck. I think there is a thought and a method behind it.

“Sometimes you did pick up unlucky injuries but incredible credit to the players. Their work and from a planning point of view that we come into the 46th game of the season and have got every one of our first-team squad available for selection. That is a real compliment and fabulous for myself to try and pick the best side to win a game of football.”

Whilst the players have done their part in keeping fit, Wilder also paid tribute to the staff behind the scenes. Upon his arrival back in November, the manager said it would be part of his remit to look at the medical department to see how they can manage injuries or even avoid them.

Wilder continued: “I could sit and talk to your all morning about the conditioning and the work that they do, and the influence that the S&C guys have. And the planning for that as well. You are going to pick up unfortunate injuries. But you don't want to pick up daft ones.

“There is a method in that and I don't think it's just about being unlucky. At times you do get a spate, but I think if you look at my past record at other clubs I've had a good record of having a clean bill of health right through the football club. It's something we have to have whether that's in extending this season or looking ahead to next year.

“It’s important we have a healthy squad because a lot goes into the planning and a lot goes into the conditioning and a lot comes down to the attitude of the players. It's a combination of a lot of things.”

The manager explained that the improvement of the medical department and the players fitness has helped reverse their fortunes this season going from a mid-table Championship side to a play-off contender.

"It does help. Naturally, you want your best players on the pitch” Wilder added.

“It's not just injuries. When I first came in there was a stat at this football club about dropping off in second halves.

“I'm looking at that now - the Swansea second half performance, for example, it was powerful, it was on the front foot. In the majority of performances second half we've been really strong.

“That's key that we match up that intensity of the first half with the intensity of the second half. The physical attributes our players have got, we've got teh maximise them and going forward we have to be a robust, healthy, physical group if we want to challenge to get out of the division.”