Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan will make a series of late selection decisions ahead of the Championship clash with Preston as a virus sweeps through the dressing room.

Strachan gave his players Monday off in a bid to prevent the bug spreading after defender Stephen McManus went down with it at the weekend.

No-one has yet been ruled out as a result but the manager will take a head count before finalising his plans.

Full-back Justin Hoyte is struggling with a calf problem but Rhys Williams returns from suspension.

Tony McMahon (stress fracture of the foot), Seb Hines (ankle and knee ligament) and Matthew Bates (cruciate ligament) are still out.

Preston boss Darren Ferguson will be hoping to welcome back Paul Coutts and Billy Jones.

Midfielder Coutts (hamstring) and defender Jones (illness) missed Saturday's 3-2 defeat at West Brom but could yet be available.

Youl Mawene was rated as 50/50 ahead of the weekend but a groin problem again caused the French centre-back to miss out. The club will continue to monitor his fitness but Liam Chilvers will be on hand to deputise again if he fails to make it.

Midfielder Barry Nicholson is still recovering from a long-term injury as North End look to bounce back to winning ways after West Brom ended their five-match unbeaten run.

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