With Nathan Wood missing the weekend trip to Cardiff due to illness, the Boro boss had a squad of 18 in Wales and says managing his players’ fitness during a hectic run is important.

Patrick Roberts was an unused substitute at Cardiff while Britt Assombalonga returned from injury to replace Chuba Akpom during the second half.

“Pat is a player who we have to manage carefully,” said the boss. “He played at Bristol a few days earlier and there were signs of fatigue in his muscles so he didn’t play at the weekend.

“I was pleased to have Britt and I thought he did well and looked sharp when he came on. It was also important he didn’t aggravate anything.

“Chuba was on his knees after the workload he’s had over the past week so it was good to have Britt back.”