Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala is set to return to action for the Teesside outfit away at Nottingham Forest this weekend, the club have confirmed on their official website.

However, the game at the City Ground comes too soon for forward Martin Braithwaite, who is back in training after picking up an injury in the opening day defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Boro have bounced back from that defeat to record back-to-back wins against Sheffield United and Burton Albion, and will look to continue that form in Nottingham on Saturday.

England U20 World Cup winner Dael Fry has partnered club captain Ben Gibson during those games – but will most likely make way to accommodate the returning Ayala as manager Garry Monk goes for three wins on the bounce.

The Riverside Stadium outfit were labelled as a promotion favourite at the start of the campaign, having spent large sums of money on players such as Braithwaite, Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Darren Randolph.

Bringing in so many players in a short space of time has had its teething issues – but Boro looked very good in dispatching Burton Albion in midweek and will look to take that form to the City Ground to face Forest.

Club-record signing Assombalonga netted twice against the Brewers and is set to make a speedy return to his former club.

The talented forward spent three years at Forest and scored an impressive 30 goals in 65 appearances, prompting Boro to shell out a record-breaking £15 million for his signature earlier in the window.

The game also sees Patrick Bamford make a return to the club he joined at the age of eight.

The former Chelsea striker has had a turbulent time recently but was incredible in the Championship for the Teessiders three years ago and will look to rekindle that form during the 2017/18 campaign.

Forest come into the game on the back of an impressive start to the season themselves – and former Newcastle United man Daryl Murphy will be a huge threat to Ayala on his return to the side.


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