MIDDLESBROUGH weren’t prepared to take the risk on Dael Fry in their season opener against West Brom with the defender struggling for fitness ahead of the game.

Fry was an unused substitute as Boro went on to seal a draw against the Baggies at the Riverside Stadium. Fry has been used as a left-sided defender in a back three during pre-season but his place was taken by Marc Bola for Saturday’s 1-1 draw.  

Following an injury to Fry in the week building up to the first game, manager Chris Wilder was forced to make a call. “We had a decision to make” he said. “I thought Boles did really well against Marseille and that gave us balance. That was partly the decision we made, though I must say, it possibly would have been a slight risk.

“Dael trained on Thursday and given where we’re at in terms of squad numbers, we took the risk completely out of it. But it was still a decision to make and Boles was good on Friday so deserved another chance today.”

Wilder is already having to operate with a thin squad as the club close in on a number of new signings. The Boro boss is looking to add a left-side central defender before the end of the transfer window as he looks to fit ‘round pegs in round holes’ in his side.

Boro have an open week before their next game with Fry looking to overcome his injury in time for next week’s Championship game away at Queens Park Rangers. However, he faces competition for places in the starting line-up with Bola, Darragh Lenihan and Anfernee Djiksteel manning the fort against Steve Bruce’s side at the weekend.

They will also welcome the return of Paddy McNair who missed the weekend’s game due to suspension after being sent off in Boro’s 4-1 defeat to Preston North End on the final day of last season.

Meanwhile, midfielder Marcus Tavernier is expected to complete his move to Bournemouth this week. The 23-year-old has been on south coast for a medical and finalising his switch after Boro accepted an offer from the Premier League side last week.