MICHAEL CARRICK has praised Tom Glover for the way in which he has slipped seamlessly into Middlesbrough’s starting side in the absence of Seny Dieng.

Glover joined Boro from Australian side Melbourne City in the summer, but prior to the middle of December, his only involvement had come in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup.

That changed when Dieng suffered a thigh injury while taking a goal-kick in the win at Swansea City, and Glover has impressed since being promoted to replace his Senegalese team-mate.

The 26-year-old performed superbly in last weekend’s FA Cup third-round defeat to Aston Villa and made a crucial stop in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup win over Chelsea when he flung himself down to his right to keep out a goal-bound effort from Cole Palmer.

“It’s easy for me to say about the squad and every one playing a part, but it’s not easy for the players when you don’t have a game and it goes on for a number of weeks,” said Carrick. “That’s the ultimate test, really - self-motivation and belief to keep going because you’ve got to wait but be ready for that opportunity.

“Credit to Tom, he’s had a good run of games, which helps. And he’s made some really big saves for us over a few weeks now.”

Glover will retain his place in Boro’s starting side for tomorrow’s Championship game at Millwall even though Dieng has returned to Teesside after being forced to withdraw from the Senegal squad at the Africa Cup of Nations.


Dieng’s thigh issue continues to trouble him, and he will complete his recovery at Rockliffe Park rather than remain in Ivory Coast in the hope of being available for the latter stages of the tournament.

“He’s back here with us now and working his way back to fitness,” said Carrick. “He’s not available yet, obviously, but hopefully we can get him back as soon as we can.”

Luke Ayling and Finn Azaz are both available to feature at the Den, having joined Boro this month, with Morgan Rogers and Sam Greenwood also part of the squad after being ineligible for Tuesday’s semi-final first leg.

Middlesbrough (probable, 4-2-3-1): Glover; van den Berg, Fry, Clarke, Engel; Howson, Barlaser; Jones, Rogers, Hackney; Coburn.