Arca seeks recall as Boro bid to hit back

MIDDLESBROUGH face another test of their play-off credentials as they travel to another of the clubs chasing the top-six pack.

After a disappointing display in Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat to Leeds United, Tony Mowbray’s side aim to bounce back at eighth-placed Birmingham City.

They will travel to St Andrews without suspended midfield man Barry Robson, who was sent off for a petulant kick in the closing stages against Leeds.

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Kevin Thomson will be assessed ahead of the game after being knocked out during the encounter with Leeds following his introduction as a substitute and being taken away on a stretcher with his neck in a brace.

Faris Haroun (hamstring) will also be assessed before Mowbray names his team.

Julio Arca is expected to step into midfield.

Birmingham full-back David Murphy is back in training after hip trouble and will be assessed for a return after Jonathan Spector suffered a thigh injury, joining fellow right-back Stephen Carr (knee) on the sidelines.

Striker Nathan Redmond should return from a knee injury but midfielder Jordon Mutch is banned.

Burnley could do Boro a favour with a win at seventh-placed Cardiff City tomorrow.

Junior Stanislas is looking for his first start for two months for Burnley after hamstring trouble. Top scorer Jay Rodriguez was withdrawn at half-time in the home draw against Crystal Palace due to a groin problem but is expected to be passed fit.

Striker Rudy Gestede (hamstring) is out for Cardiff and Rob Earnshaw will hope to profit. Midfielder Stephen McPhail, who has been sidelined with Sjogren’s Syndrome, is back in training.