GESTEDE CLOSES IN ON BORO FITNESS BOOST
BARNSLEY V MIDDLESBROUGH: BOSS MONK READY FOR A TOUGH OAKWELL CHALLENGE
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