Steve Agnew spoke to the press at Rockliffe Park on Thursday as Boro prepare for the trip to Bournemouth this weekend.
On his squad’s fitness and availability:
“We’ve had some good news on Fabio, it’s not as bad as we first thought.
“We’ll have a look in the morning to see if he can make it.
“Rudy Gestede had a kick to his heel but he’s trained well today.
“Grant Leadbitter’s hamstring is sore so he’ll miss this weekend. He was terrific the other night – he’s the captain and leader of this team so of course he’s a miss. But when a player’s injured that gives an opportunity to another member of the squad.
“Victor Valdes has a rib problem and he’ll miss out. He hurt it against Burnley and trained the majority of last week, through pain really, in a hope to make Monday’s game.
“But it’s difficult with rib injuries – I’ve experience it myself and they are very uncomfortable.
“We have Brad Guzan to come in, and he’s done so very well a few times this season, including on Monday. He has played seven or eight years in the Premier League and is a very experienced goalkeeper.”
On Monday’s match against Arsenal:
“I was really pleased, the players were disappointed to lose, but we were pleased with the effort and intensity.
“I think what I’ve seen watching the games back and in team meetings is positivity, particularly in the forward play.
“The chances have been created but we haven’t been putting them away.
“But the combination of long and short passing, and set plays have been good. – we just need it all to come together.”
On Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth:
“They are a very good team. Eddie [Howe]’s done a fantastic job to bring them through the divisions and establish them in the Premier League – that’s very difficult, as we’re finding out this season.
“Bournemouth will see their home advantage and want three points to give them a little extra security. I have no doubt it will be tough but we’re determined to come away with what we need.
“There is so much work going on with all the staff and players focusing on the next game, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.
“It’s a big week for us, and a massive game. But you have to enjoy it – that’s the only way I know.
“Confidence and belief come with winning and we’ll be doing everything to do that on Saturday.”