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50-50 Challenge: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

El Clasico 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
May 4, 2006

Boro optimistic over Schwarzer fitness

MIDDLESBROUGH, England, May 4 (Reuters) - Middlesbrough are confident Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer will be able to play in the UEFA Cup final against Spanish side Sevilla despite suffering a fractured cheekbone less than two weeks ago.

'We are hopeful that Mark will be okay,' Middlesbrough assistant manager Steve Round was quoted as telling the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette on Thursday.

'He has been to see the surgeon again and a lot will depend on what the medical people say. But we are confident that Mark will be able to play in the final.'

Schwarzer suffered the injury in the FA Cup semi-final defeat by West Ham United on April 23 at Villa Park and it was initially feared he would miss the rest of the season, including the UEFA Cup final in Eindhoven on May 10.

'Mark is back in training and the (protective) mask option will be looked at,' Schwarzer's representative Barry Silkman added.

'He will be trying out the mask in the next few days to see how it is, but he has been told he could play without it.

'Nothing is certain at this point as Mark and the club will not take a big gamble. But he is progressing well and we are all hopeful and confident he will be there in Eindhoven.'

Schwarzer's expected recovery is also good news for Australia head coach Guus Hiddink before the start of the World Cup next month.