MIDDLESBROUGH’S injury troubles have eased as midfielder Willo Flood returned to training yesterday.
The Irishman has been out since the opening day of the season when, 11 minutes into the match against Ipswich at the Riverside, he collided with defender Matthew Bates and had to be stretchered off.
It later emerged Flood had dislocated his right kneecap which had forced him to miss most of the season.
However, the Dubliner is back in the fold but boss Tony Mowbray, while delighted to have him back, wishes others on the injury table were available. He said: “It was good to have Willo back in training – although he kicked a few of our boys which he will have to ease up on given our injury-list. In all seriousness, though, Willo likes to win football matches – be they first-team games or five-a-sides in training.
“Likewise it is good to see Rhys Williams return.
“He is a fantastic athlete who seems to cruise around and he is going to be a big plus to us when he is back in the team.
“However, there are those like Kevin Thomson who are still missing.
“He has been putting the hours in on the exercise bike, but it is still too early to say when he will be back in action.
“Barry Robson is back in training and if I need to put him in the team then needs be.
“We are ot in February and it is not like he will need a pre-season, but he will still be blowing very hard at some point during the Swansea match if I need to play him. Somewhere down the line I hope to have consistency in terms of selection, but for now we have to work on a game-by-game basis.”
Mowbray will be hoping his team have a more creative spark against Swansea City tomorrow – something he feels was missing in last week’s 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace.
He added: “Last week was disappointing in the lack of chances created by us.
“When they went a goal up, they settled on it.
“Their full-backs do not cross the halfway line and their back four stays in place.
“With our lack of individual creativity, we found it very difficult to break down that block of players they had in front of their goal for all of the second half.”