Gerhard Struber confirms that Barnsley FC defender Aapo Halme is sidelined for the crunch relegation trip to Middlesbrough

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BARNSLEY head coach Gerhard Struber has confirmed that Aapo Halme will not be involved in Wednesday night's crunch relegation six-pointer at fellow strugglers Middlesbrough.

The Finn, a close-season arrival from Leeds United, came off with a head injury at the interval in Saturday's 3-2 Roses loss at Blackburn Rovers.

Barnsley FC head coach Gerhard Struber, pictured with assistant Matt Rose (left).

Barnsley FC head coach Gerhard Struber, pictured with assistant Matt Rose (left).

Halme, who featured in a holding midfield role in a diamond formation, sustained the injury shortly before the half-time, wiith the incident also seeing him damage his nose.

Kenny Dougall is favourite to come into the side after his impressive performance when coming on at Ewood Park, with Cameron McGeehan representing another option for the Reds, who are without a league victory in 16 matches since the opening day of the season.

Struber said: "Aapo is not fit for the game, but we hope he can play on Saturday against Hull. He has problems with his nose and also the head and he cannot play (at Middlesbrough).

"It is a problem for us, but we have other players for Aapo and we must speak with the staff as to what is for the best and which player we need and at thhe moment, we are not clear who will play at number six (holding midfield)."

Struber was in attendance at Boro's draw with Hull City on Sunday and while being impressed with their counter-attacking style, the Austrian feels he has a 'clear plan' which will be able to combat the threat posed by the Teessiders, who are without a league win in ten matches and are on their worst run of form at this level since early 1985.

He said: "I saw Middlesbrough live against Hull and this is a side with a clear counter-attacking plan with very, very good strikers.

"We want a very good performance on and off the ball. We need focus for 90 minutes in all situations.

"But we have a clear plan for the game at Middlesbrough."