Middlesbrough will be without first choice central defenders Daniel Ayala and Aden Flint against Rovers on Sunday.

Ayala was sent off in the second half of Wednesday night’s defeat at Sheffield United, while Flint was forced off injured after the half hour mark.

The pair have started 23 and 28 of Middlesbrough’s 31 Championship so far this season as part of manager Tony Pulis’ preferred 5-4-1 formation. Stewart Downing replaced Flint in midweek and Pulis will have to make a call on who fills in as part of a new-look defence at Ewood Park.

Speaking after the defeat at Bramall Lane, where Richard Stearman scoring the winner three minutes before Ayala was sent off, Pulis said: “The game was an even game until Dani got set-off, I think we could have done a lot better going forward if Dani had stayed on but you give credit to Sheffield United in the second half.

“We lost Flint and they played more direct, they got the crowd up, the ball went in the corners a few times and then you need strong officials.

“The disappointing thing is the goal in respect of the two incidents leading up to it and I think if you watch it back it's definitely a foul on Dael (Fry).”

Middlesbrough lost Wolves loanee Danny Batth in January as the defender was recalled before being sold to Stoke City.

On Flint, Pulis added: “Aden will be three or four weeks, it's his hamstring.

“Well we lost Danny Batth during the window and then losing those two leaves us a little bit short.”