Summer signing Damia Abella is facing a six-month lay-off after snapping his Anterior Cruciate Ligament at Cardiff.

The Spaniard was stretchered from the pitch after appearing to fall awkwardly and Boro Head Coach Aitor Karanka confirmed the bad news.

"Damia has broken his ACL," said Aitor. "It could be six months. He's an experienced player, he will have an operation, then he will have rehab. I want to wish him all the best.

"I knew him before I signed him and I had no doubt he would settle in here very well, but this is football. We spoke yesterday and football isn't always nice, but he's already thinking about his next game."

The loss of Damia is a blow, but the shrewd Head Coach had already planned to leave him out of Saturday's game, replacing him with on-loan Tottenham youngster Ryan Fredericks.

"He's ready," confirmed Aitor. "I told him on Monday he would play on Saturday because I was going to rest Damia so he was ready.

"He's powerful, he has energy and he knows the league. He played for Millwall last season. He likes getting forward and we are working with him. I have no doubts that he will play well."