Middlesbrough boss Michael Carrick says he is focusing on the players who are available to him to face Ipswich Town this weekend.

In-form Boro have only lost three of their last 12 games as they've climbed up to 12th in the Championship table after an awful start.

But they could be missing up to ten players for the visit of high-flying Town this weekend.

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Defenders Darragh Lenihan and Tommy Smith, as well as Nottingham Forest loan midfielder Lewis O'Brien, will definitely miss out through injury.

In addition, defender Anfernee Dijksteel and midfielder Isaiah Jones are both suspended, leaving Carrick short on the right hand side.

East Anglian Daily Times: Anfernee Dijksteel is suspendedAnfernee Dijksteel is suspended

On top of that, Riley McGree and Marcus Forss have both been missing since October, while Dael Fry, Hayden Hackney and Paddy McNair are all injury doubts.

Speaking at this afternoon's press conference, Carrick played his cards close to his chest.

He said: “I think we’re better off talking about who is fit and available because we are down on the numbers.

"Those that are available and are playing are doing well though. We’ve got a long list of players not available for various reasons, but that’s not my focus.

"It’s more right now about getting the boys who are fit ready for the game on Saturday.

"Boys get injuries and suspensions and it’s easy to talk about that, but it’s ultimately about the game and preparing for that. It’s a great challenge for us.

"Certain players who hadn’t played so much are now in the team and having an impact, which is great.

"These things always provide opportunities and I’m really looking forward to this game, and the spell of games, to seeing what we’re capable of doing.

"The boys are in good spirits and are playing well. We felt a disappointment about last week, but we’re looking forward to what we can do next."

East Anglian Daily Times: Former Town trainee Matt Clarke is in line to start for BoroFormer Town trainee Matt Clarke is in line to start for Boro (Image: Warren Page)
One of the players who could benefit from the squad issues is former Town defender Matt Clarke, with the centre-back in line for his first start since October 1, 2022.

He came on for McNair in last week's 3-2 defeat at Leeds, making just his second appearance in more than a year.

The 27-year-old started his career at Town, making five sub appearances before heading to Portsmouth in June 2016.

He went on to join Brighton for £3.4m, but never played for them and ended up at Middlesbrough last year.

Of Clarke, Carrick said: "I think Clarkey has been ready for a good number of weeks. It’s just that opportunity.

"I’ve said it a lot, sometimes you’re in the squad and it feels like your opportunity is a long way off, you can’t see your next game because there are two or three players ahead of you.

"But quite quickly it can change. Clarkey is ready. He showed that in terms of his performance last week.

"It was great to get him on the pitch before that and I said then that he was a big part of the squad and he was ready to play and that doesn’t change now."