Middlesbrough defender Emanuel Pogatetz looks set to be sidelined until Christmas following a cartilage operation.

The news comes as a massive blow to Boro boss Gareth Southgate, who will also be without Jonathan Woodgate for the first three weeks of the campaign as he recovers from knee surgery.

Robert Huth, Matthew Bates and Chris Riggott are also on the injury list, but Southgate is staying positive.

He told the Evening Gazette: "I'd be worried with five centre-backs out if we didn't have any cover, but we have cover.

"Andrew Davies and David Wheater have done well in the pre-season matches. I was delighted with both of them against AZ Alkmaar.

"Andrew has a fair bit of Premier League experience and while David hadn't played that many games, he is a promising lad and he has done very, very well in pre-season."