The Boro head coach says Fry's recovery is progressing nicely, with the defender set to return to competitive action with our Under-23s against Stoke City at Bishop Auckland on Friday (7pm).

"He'll play 60 minutes on Friday night and then hopefully he'll be back with us."

There was another defensive boost this week with captain Friend making his return from injury in the Carabao Cup tie against Crewe.

"George came through on Tuesday really well which is a plus, another real leader back in the group," said Woodgate.

"He was really pushing on for us to get that third goal right at the end.

"George struggled a little bit from last season with an injury to his thigh muscle, he's picked up a couple of niggles so we need to take our time with him.

"Sometimes you have to rein him in a little - you know what George is like, he doesn't have an 80% button, only a 100% one. He's back in the frame and will be there or thereabouts on Saturday.

"Him and Jonny Howson are examples to our younger players in the dressing room, how you need to do it day in, day out."

Striker Rudy Gestede will miss the trip to Wigan while defender Hayden Coulson has also picked up a knock.

"Rudy has bilateral hamstring tightness and will have an epidural tomorrow," Woodgate said.

"Hayden Coulson has got a bit of a knock so let's see."