Bannan clear to return for Boro clash

Barry Bannan is likely to return to the starting line-up for our Boxing Day trip to promotion-chasing Middlesbrough.

Bannan has completed his two-match ban and can be expected to come back into the midfield against a Boro side who currently sit in fourth place in the Championship table, but nine points behind leaders Leeds.

We go into the game waiting to hear who will replace Jos Luhukay as manager, with Steve Bruce still the odds-on favourite for the job. However, with nothing yet confirmed, it looks as though Lee Bullen will continue as caretaker boss for the challenge at the Riverside.

Bullen’s first game in temporary charge resulted in a much-needed home win over Preston on Saturday and Keiren Westwood, recalled to face North End for his first outing of the season, is also expected to keep his place in goal against Boro.

We have won on Boxing Day for the last four years while Boro have collected maximum points from their last six home games played on this day and we have won just once in our last 13 competitive games at the Riverside.

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