Preston v Middlesbrough preview

Team news ahead of Preston's Championship clash with Middlesbrough at Deepdale on Tuesday (3pm).

Last Updated: 27/12/10 at 13:39

King: Could start up front

King: Could start up front

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Leon Cort will play the last game of his one-month loan spell for Preston.

The towering defender has impressed since joining from Burnley and boss Darren Ferguson is hopeful of agreeing an extension to the loan after the Boro game.

Midfielder Barry Nicholson has been an unused substitute in five of the last six games as he works his way back to full fitness after twice breaking a leg.

Nicholson believes he has now reached full fitness and could push for inclusion, while Ferguson should also have midfield duo Matty James and Paul Coutts available after injury.

Iain Hume's 93-day stay from Barnsley has expired but the former Leicester striker is expected to return to Deepdale in a permanent transfer when the transfer window opens in January.

On-loan Manchester United striker Josh King has recovered from an ankle injury and could start up front.

Nicky Bailey could return to the Middlesbrough squad.

The midfielder missed the 2-1 defeat at Doncaster on December 17 with a groin problem, but was expected to return for the Boxing Day clash with Nottingham Forest before it was postponed.

Manager Tony Mowbray otherwise has no fresh fitness concerns as he attempts to guide his side away from the lower reaches of the table.

Long-term absentees Stephen McManus (ankle), Jonathan Franks (herniated disc), Willo Flood (knee), Rhys Williams (pelvis) and Matt Kilgallon (back) remain on the sidelines.

Boro head into the game level on points with third-bottom Crystal Palace and just two better off than North End.

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