Championship

Middlesbrough: Jonny Howson facing several weeks out after surgery

Middlesbrough: Jonny Howson facing several weeks out after surgery

Middlesbrough will be without the services of Jonny Howson for a number of weeks after undergoing surgery on a hernia problem this week.

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The Northern Echo reported that the 31-year-old is anticipated to be out of action for four to six weeks, which was claimed as the “normally suggested” length of time of recovery from a hernia operation.

According to The Northern Echo, Middlesbrough have not placed a specific timeframe on the expected return date of Howson, with George Friend also facing a lengthy absence from action after he went for surgery on a persistent abductor injury.

Howson, who came to Middlesbrough from Norwich in 2017, had started the first five Championship matches of the season for Jonathan Woodgate’s side but was ruled out of the recent draw at Bristol City with an abductor strain, as reported by the Hartlepool Mail.

He hasn’t found the net so far in 2019/20 but has provided two assists, setting up goals against Luton and Wigan last month. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]

He has played mainly as a right-back in recent weeks, starting every game in that position apart from the 1-0 defeat at Blackburn when he was deployed as an attacking midfielder. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]

So far this season, Howson has recorded match averages of 1.6 successful aerial duels, 1.2 successful tackles, 1.2 interceptions, 0.4 blocks, 1.2 dribbles and 0.8 key passes, with a passing success rate of 76.1%. [via WhoScored.com]

Aside from the dribbling figure, he does not place in the top three in Middlesbrough’s squad for any of the other metrics in the early weeks of 2019/20. [via WhoScored.com]

Anfernee Dijksteel, who came in at right-back against Blackburn and Bristol City, won three aerial duels and recorded 92.7% passing accuracy in the match at Ashton Gate. [via WhoScored.com]

His season’s passing success rate of 87.7% is the best of any player to have started a league game for ‘Boro, while he has recorded 1.3 key passes per game, but in terms of defensive work he has posted match averages of only 0.7 tackles and one interception. [via WhoScored.com]

Ryan Shotton, who has played as a centre-back this season, is another alternative for Howson at right-back. The former Stoke man has matched Howson’s 1.2 tackles per game and has a superior interceptions average of 1.8 per game, as well as a 77.5% passing accuracy rate.

Howson’s absence will deprive Middlesbrough of an experienced figure in the right-back position, with the 31-year-old having made more than 500 appearances at club level.

However, his statistics in recent weeks have been passable rather than superb when compared with the rest of the squad, while Dijksteel and Shotton give Woodgate other options at right-back who could compensate for Howson’s weaker attributes.

Middlesbrough fans, how much of a loss will Howson be over the next few weeks considering the other right-back options in the squad? Comment below with your views!

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