The first team coach stepped in for Neil Warnock once more in Friday's pre-match press conference - Boro's boss won't travel as he continues to rest up and recuperate after testing positive for COVID-19.

But Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson hope to have a full playing squad to work with at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium tomorrow, including Ashley Fletcher after he hobbled off against Bournemouth.

"We took him off as a precaution, we don’t any to lose any players," Blackwell said.

"After the next international break, we’ve got a massive run of games, nearly half a season's worth in a month. So any niggles like that we have to be careful.

"We’ve brought Chuba [Akpom] as well, and we’re looking to go in with a full squad on Saturday.

Blackwell says that new signing Akpom has impressed with his attitude, but says he must continue to work hard to earn his opportunities.

"We've got a great camaraderie, and he's a smashing lad so he's slotted right in," he said.

"He knows that he won’t walk into the team, he’ll have to work hard for his place.

"In that respect I’m glad he was at the Riverside to see how well we played last Saturday.

"Hopefully he’ll hit the ground running, that’s what all strikers want because I think he has all the attributes to be a top marksman."