GESTEDE CLOSES IN ON BORO FIT­NESS BOOST

BARNSLEY V MID­DLES­BROUGH: BOSS MONK READY FOR A TOUGH OAKWELL CHAL­LENGE

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Mid­dles­brough striker Rudy Gestede is edg­ing to­wards a first-team re­turn, ac­cord­ing to Garry Monk.

But the Boro boss ad­mits his front­man may still, at the ear­li­est, be a fort­night away from ac­tion.

Speak­ing ahead of to­mor­row’s Cham­pi­onship visit to Barnsley, Monk pro­vided an up­date on the Benin in­ter­na­tional’s in­jury sta­tus.

“He’s do­ing very well,” said Monk.

“We’re hope­ful that he’ll back by the end of the month, or the start of next.

“But we’re not putting any pres­sure on him. His re­hab’s go­ing very well. The key thing with that is, once he’s back on the grass, things will be a bit clearer in terms of his pro­gres­sion.

“Rudy’s the only in­jury at this mo­ment in time and we’re look­ing forward to hav­ing him back when he’s ready.”

Mean­while, Monk ad­mits his side are a ‘work in progress’ ahead of their trip to Oakwell.

Boro have had a mixed start to life back in the Cham­pi­onship, but they are well placed, just four points off the sec­ond-tier play-off spots, 11 games in.

And Monk has seen more than enough to sug­gest his team will im­prove, es­pe­cially af­ter get­ting plenty of time to work with his play­ers at Rock­cliffe over the in­ter­na­tional break.

“It’s hard to get proper train­ing, in terms of de­vel­op­ing the team, be­cause of the way the Cham­pi­onship is, with so many games,” he ex­plained.

“A lot of it is about prepa­ra­tion for the next game and re­cov­ery.

“To de­velop a team, you need time and days on the train­ing field to work on things with the play­ers. In­ter­na­tional breaks pro­vide that.

“We used this one to cor­rect lit­tle things we need to im­prove on, re­mind cer­tain play­ers about things they need to get bet­ter at and also to con­cen­trate on the things we have done well also.

“The play­ers have re­sponded well to it.”

For­mer Leeds and Swansea boss Monk added: “So far, we have had glimpses, or pe­ri­ods in games, where we have shown ev­ery­one what we are ca­pa­ble of, what we are try­ing to get to.

“It is about work­ing as hard as we can to try and get to where we want to be.

Clos­ing in on a come­back: Boro striker Rudy Gestede bat­tles against Bur­ton Al­bion ear­lier this sea­son

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