CURTIS MAIN is a notable absentee from the Middlesbrough squad at Rochdale today as talks with Doncaster could lead to his departure.
Boro are on the verge of confirming a £500,000 deal for Rovers’ 20-year-old full-back James Husband and the move could still signal the end of Main’s stay at the Riverside Stadium.
Doncaster have asked to take the former Darlington front-man on a permanent basis and talks are continuing.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka does field summer signing Kike in attack at Spotland, where he will lead the line ahead of a three-man attacking midfield consisting of Andy Halliday, Lee Tomlin and Adam Reach.
It will be Kike’s first outing on English soil in a Middlesbrough shirt since completing a £2.7m switch from Real Murcia.
Tomas Mejias, signed from Real Madrid, starts in goal, but Jason Steele does not even make the bench which suggests he is already regarded as third choice by Karanka building up to the new campaign.
Rochdale: Lillis; Rafferty, Henderson, Lancashire, Donnelly; Hery, Lund, Done, Allen; Andrew, Tanser. Subs: Bennett, McGinty, Vincenti, Barry-Murphy, Musangu, Collis, Rose, Logan, Cannon, Camps, Bunney.
Middlesbrough: Mejias; Atkinson, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Smallwood, Butterfield; Halliday, Tomlin, Reach; Kike. Subs: Adomah, Morris, Burgess, Fewster, Bennett, Williams, Konstantopoulos (gk).