Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, a supposed deadline day transfer target for Derby County, could be in line to face the Rams on Saturday as Neil Warnock’s Middlesbrough make the trip to Pride Park.
Derby had aimed to secure the services of the former Rochdale ace according to The Sun, however, it was The Boro who managed to finalise a deal for the 28-year-old.
Mendez-Laing is yet to make an appearance for his new side since signing, instead building up his fitness due to a lengthy time out of action following his Cardiff City sacking.
As per Teeside Live, Warnock has had his say on the likelihood of the forward making his Middlesbrough debut against the Rams on Saturday.
The Boro boss said: “It will be interesting to see how far he’s come and whether or not I can give him half an hour or so just to give him a run before we have a tough run of games coming up.
“He did look very good yesterday, I must admit.
“But it’s different in a training game on half a pitch than on a full pitch at full speed,” added Warnock. “It’s a whole different ball game.
“We’ve just got to be careful with these players who have been out for so long.”
It is bound to be a big test for Derby who will be hoping to bounce back following a disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hands of relegation rivals Rotherham in their latest affair. A win could lift them out of the relegation zone.
For Middlesbrough, the encounter provides a chance for them to move closer the top six. They are currently 7th, five points away from that final play-off position having lost three of their last four matches.