McManus has been out of action since November when he suffered ankle ligament damage in Tony Mowbray’s second match in charge at The Riverside Stadium.
After such a lengthy lay-off Mowbray is relectant to throw the centre-half straight back into action at Portsmouth on Saturday but is delighted to have another option for his struggling side.
“Stephen is going to travel on Saturday, mainly to just get him back in the fray,” the Boro boss confirmed. “We don’t anticipate him being in the team, but he might be on the bench. Having said that, if someone gets injured early on, he won’t be coming on.
“He has trained for less than a week, but he is a big personality in the dressing room and it will be good to have him around what is a young squad.
“It’s really a question of getting him fit now, so if we get in a position where we can throw him on and give him some game time, then we’ll do that.”
Boro gave themselves a boost on Tuesday night with a 2-1 win over Derby lifting them on to the 40 point mark.
Fifty points is generally accepted as the safety mark in the Championship with Barry Robson relishing the battle ahead
“In the second half against Derby we showed real spirit and determination,” Robson, who is currently captaining Middlesbrough, admitted. “We showed real character and we got about them, fought for every ball and we got the two goals.
“Maybe we got a break or two. It is nice that a deflected goal went our way for a change, but we deserved it. We worked hard for that bit of luck.
“Sometimes we haven’t done that enough this season, not played well but won. We need to be doing that more.
“Against Forest we dominated the match, we showed energy, passed the ball well and made loads of chances and ended up drawing 1-1.
“Against Derby we didn’t play so well but we fought for every ball, got a few breaks and won 2-1 and that shows you what happens in this league.
“But we need to keep on doing that, keep on battling, keep on showing spirit and keep working right to the end in every game so we can quickly collect some more points, finish the season strongly and be ready to have a real go next year.”