Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has confirmed that recent signing Jordan Hugill will not make his debut against Birmingham City at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The West Ham United striker arrived on Teesside on loan on Wednesday, but the Boro addition has only just recovered from an injury which denied him a full pre-season, and it is likely to be a few weeks before he is ready for action for the Championship club.
That is a blow for the Middlesbrough fans who were hoping the forward could provide the firepower for their side, as they go in search of a second win of the campaign when they play host to the Blues and former manager Garry Monk.
Pulis confirmed the situation with the new signing when he addressed the media in his usual pre-match press conference.
“Jordan’s been injured, and hasn’t had a full pre-season,” the Middlesbrough official website quotes him as saying.
“It will take us a few weeks to get him properly fit and ready. I think it will be the international break before we’ll see him.”
There is better news though when it comes to midfielder Jonny Howson. The Middlesbrough playmaker was withdrawn in the second half of the win over Sheffield United in midweek, but it appears that it was more of a precaution than anything very serious.
Pulis was quick to acknowledge the situation with the experienced star, and expects him to be fit to face Birmingham.
“Jonny got a kick rather than a strain or a pull so we’re expecting him to be fit,” he said.
“I think out of the two games, he’s been our outstanding player.
“I thought he was exceptional at Millwall when things weren’t going so well and again on Tuesday night, his work in midfield getting forward and back.”
Middlesbrough will be eyeing up back-to-back wins in the Championship when they take on the Blues, which will put any questions over a play-off hangover to bed.