Middlesbrough vs Coventry City Predicted Lineups: Will Jonny Howson Return From Injury?

Middlesbrough vs Coventry City Predicted Lineups: Will Jonny Howson Return From Injury?
Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick applauds the fans after the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final first leg match at the Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry. Picture date: Sunday May 14, 2023. - Photo by Icon sport

Middlesbrough host Coventry City on Wednesday night in the second leg of their Championship playoff semi-final. The first leg at the Coventry Building Society Arena ended goalless which means there is still to play for.

Michael Carrick has enjoyed a phenomenal season as Middlesbrough manager after taking over from Chris Wilder in October. At the time, the club were floundering in 21st position in the league table and Carrick’s task was to try and save the club from relegation to League One.

However, after an incredible run of form, the ex-Manchester United player has taken them to within two wins of the Premier League, which has led to him being linked with several Premier League jobs.

Coventry City have also enjoyed something of a fairytale season. The club has faced serious issues in recent times and very nearly went bust on a couple of occasions. However, under the stewardship of Mark Robins, the midlands outfit are now dreaming of Premier League football, something that seemed impossible just a few years ago.

The match at the Riverside is a winner-take-all affair with a trip to Wembley to face Luton Town looming. The game will kick off at 20:00 UK time and viewers will be able to watch it on SkySports Main Event and SkySports Football.

Middlesbrough Team News: Carrick to welcome back a couple of injured players

Michael Carrick will be glad that his side came through the first leg with no fresh injury concerns after seeing his side become increasingly depleted towards the end of the Championship season. He welcomed back Dael Fry and Marcus Forss to the matchday squad in the first leg and both men are in line to start this one.

Marcus Forss has scored ten goals this season and was given a 20-minute run out off the bench at the weekend. The Finnish forward is expected to replace Isaiah Jones on the right flank in Boro’s starting eleven while Fry is more likely to have to settle for a place on the bench once again.

Another key player who could be available for selection for Boro is Jonny Howson. The experienced playmaker has been a key figure for Carrick since he took over at the club and has been a big miss over the past month or so. Howson didn’t make the squad for the first leg but is expected to at least be on the bench on Wednesday night.

Aside from that, Middlesbrough are still set to be without Matt Clarke and Aaron Ramsey who both continue their recoveries from respective back and ankle injuries.

Coventry City Team News: Is Hamer available after sustaining an injury in the first leg?

The big injury news to come out of the Coventry City camp in recent days revolves around the fitness of star midfielder, Gustavo Hamer. The Dutch midfielder has been one of Coventry’s best and most consistent performers all season but suffered an impact injury in the first leg after a rough challenge during the second half.

Despite finishing the match, Mark Robins has since admitted that there is some concern around the 25-year-old’s availability for the second leg. Describing the injury as a “whack to the knee”, Robins couldn’t guarantee that Hamer will be able to play at the Riverside which could mean that Ben Sheaf could get a start in midfield after recovering from his own injury issue.

Three players who are definitely unavailable for the match against Middlesbrough are Callum Wilson (ACL), Fabio Tavares (Achilles) and Kasey Palmer (hamstring). The trio are also unlikely to be available for a potential final at Wembley should Coventry come out on top on Wednesday night.

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