RILEY McGREE and Marcus Forss remain sidelined through injury, but Michael Carrick has allayed fears that the Middlesbrough duo could be out for as long as fellow long-term absentee Darragh Lenihan.

Lenihan underwent ankle surgery earlier this week and will not play again this season as he begins a lengthy rehabilitation process.

Like the Irish defender, McGree and Forss have been sidelined for more than a month, and neither player will be available when Boro return to action after the international break at Bristol City on Saturday.

McGree is still struggling with a foot injury, while Forss remains absent because of a thigh problem, but while neither is expected to be back for at least another couple of weeks, Carrick is confident it will not be too much longer before they are on the field.

“They’re both getting nearer in terms of getting back fit, but they’re not quite there yet,” said the Boro boss, whose side return to action sitting tenth in the Championship table, two points adrift of the play-off positions. “They’re still a few weeks away, so they’ve got a bit to go yet.


“It’s nothing like Darragh though – you’re definitely not talking about the season or anything like that, it’s weeks we’re talking about with both of them. How many weeks it is, we’ll just have to see.

“I said from the start that, with Riley, it’s his foot, plantar fasciitis, so it’s not easy to get on top of. We’re working through that, and he’s making progress, which is important. Marcus is still a good few weeks away, but we’ll work through that and get him back as quickly as we can.”

Lenihan is aiming to be back for the start of pre-season after undergoing surgery on his ankle earlier this week.

It was initially hoped that the centre-half could be eased through his injury issues with a mixture of rest and rehabilitation, but Boro’s medical staff were eventually forced to concede defeat and book him in for an operation.

“It’s obviously a blow to lose Darragh,” said Carrick. “We’ve suffered from a few injuries recently, with obviously Tommy (Smith) and Darragh being longer term. It’s a blow, but unfortunately, it’s part of the game. It’s not a nice part, but it is part of the game.

The Northern Echo: Darragh Lenihan will miss the rest of the season through injuryDarragh Lenihan will miss the rest of the season through injury

“As a squad, we have to deal with it. The boys have done that very well so far. Darragh is obviously a big influence around the group and dressing room, and he’ll continue to do that.

“To be honest, all the boys who have been absent or injured, or missed out in recent weeks, have still been a massive influence around the group, which shows how strong it is.”