Middlesbrough striker Scott McDonald could return for the Coca-Cola Championship clash with Crystal Palace.

The Australia international has missed the last two matches with a hamstring injury but manager Gordon Strachan is hoping to have him back for either the Palace game or Monday's trip to Plymouth.

However, defender Emanuel Pogatetz, who sat out last weekend's 1-1 draw at Watford with a virus, is now struggling with a knee injury and will not be involved against the Londoners.

Loan signing Jay O'Shea, who was an unused substitute at Vicarage Road, could get his chance this weekend.

But Jeremie Aliadiere (broken toe), Willo Flood (knee), Seb Hines (ankle and medial ligament), Tony McMahon (stress fracture of the foot) and Matthew Bates (cruciate ligament) are all out.

Palace captain Shaun Derry will be fit for the trip.

The midfielder limped off after 20 minutes of Tuesday night's 3-1 win at Watford but had only suffered a dead leg.

Boss Paul Hart still has problems in defence with both his left-backs, Lee Hills and Clint Hill, suspended.

Hills was sent off in the closing stages at Vicarage Road and serves a one-game ban while Hill completes a two-match suspension.

Nathaniel Clyne is still out with a hip problem and fellow right-back Danny Butterfield has a hamstring injury, although he is not too far away and could fill in on the left.

Striker Alan Lee is also close to returning from the groin strain which has kept him out for the last two games.

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Topics:
Danny Butterfield
Lee Hills
Watford
Football
Alan Lee
Championship
Tony McMahon
Scott McDonald
Gordon Strachan
Jeremie Aliadiere
Emanuel Pogatetz
Seb Hines
Shaun Derry
Willo Flood
Clint Hill
Matthew Bates
Crystal Palace
Middlesbrough
Matthew Bates
Plymouth Argyle