Middlesbrough are hopeful that defender Emanuel Pogatetz is not facing a lengthy lay-off after a scan revealed the extent of his knee injury.
The 26-year-old Austria international hurt his knee and the tendon behind it during Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Bolton, and has been ruled out of this weekend’s crucial home game against Hull.
However, the Teessiders believe the injury is not serious and that he could be back in action sooner rather than later.
Pogatetz’s absence will come as a blow as Boro attempt to drag themselves out of deep relegation trouble, although they have had better news on the fitness front today.
Midfielder Didier Digard has returned to the club from the French national football academy in Clairefontaine, where he has been undergoing rehabilitation, and is expected to resume full training within a fortnight.
The 22-year-old has been sidelined since suffering a partial rupture of the quadriceps muscle in his left leg and a partial tear of the medial ligament in his right knee during the 0-0 draw with Wigan on February 21.
In addition, England Under-21 international Adam Johnson is back in light training after recovering from an ankle problem, and defender Chris Riggott is close to being available after tearing his medial ligament at the beginning of February.