Boateng blow for Boro

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Middlesbrough have been dealt a huge blow with the news that influential midfielder George Boateng faces two months on the sidelines.

The Dutchman is a key figure in Steve McClaren's side but was injured during the Carling Cup defeat to Blackburn Rovers in midweek.

After damaging ankle ligaments, the former Aston Villa man will be missing for around eight weeks and is obviously out of the busy festive programme and the FA Cup third round tie at Nuneaton.

Gaizka Mendieta and Szilard Nemeth are back in training for the Teesside outfit but the loss of Boateng is a bitter pill for McClaren to swallow ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Blackburn, who dumped Boro out of the cup with a late goal from Paul Dickov.

Mendieta's return is a plus but the creative Spaniard is a different type of player to the tough-tackling Holland international.