Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray is facing up to the prospect of having to do without defender Andre Bikey for the visit of high-flying Cardiff.
The Championship leaders head for the Riverside Stadium on Saturday with the Teessiders looking to end a desperate run of form which has seen them win just one of their last nine league games.
However, they may have to do so without central defender Bikey, who aggravated a hamstring problem during Wednesday night's 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Chelsea.
Mowbray said: "Andre's been carrying a hamstring problem for three weeks now.
"Footballers tend to know their bodies and he's got through games, yet because you don't really get a rest in the Championship, it was probably going to go sooner or later.
"He's damaged it, but it was probably worth the risk for us. We have got cover in that position with [Seb] Hines coming back and the fact [Jonathan] Woodgate won't be that far away. It was worth taking the risk."