Boateng ruled out after surgery
Middlesbrough midfielder George Boateng is out of the Boxing Day clash with Manchester United after undergoing surgery to repair a damaged knee cartilage.
The 27-year-old Dutchman, who was stretchered off during the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday, will be sidelined for several weeks.
Manager Steve McClaren will give Noel Whelan until the last minute to prove his fitness as he recovers from a groin strain, although the game will come too soon for full-back Robbie Stockdale, who has returned to training following a troublesome heel injury.
Provisional squad:Schwarzer, Crossley, Parnaby, Queudrue, Cooper, Southgate, Ehiogu, Vidmar, Greening, Geremi, Job, Wilson, Windass, Whelan, Wilkshire, Maccarone, Boksic, Nemeth.