MICHAEL CARRICK is considering recalling one of Middlesbrough’s loan goalkeepers to plug the shot-stopping gap that is expected to emerge in January.

Boro’s current number one, Seny Dieng, is expected to be missing for around a month at the start of next year as he is almost certain to be named in the Senegal squad for the Africa Cup of Nations that will be staged in Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau from January 13.

The Teessiders are also likely to be without their second-choice goalkeeper too, with Tom Glover set to be named in the Australia squad for the Asia Cup in Qatar, which is due to begin a day earlier on January 12.

As things stand, Boro could call on their third-choice shot-stopper, Jamie Jones, who signed from Wigan Athletic as a free agent in the summer but who has not made a single senior appearance this season. He was, however, an unused substitute for all four of this season’s games in the Carabao Cup.

An alternative would be to recall one of the three senior goalkeepers Boro currently have out on loan. Liam Roberts is playing in League One with Barnsley, Sol Brynn is also in the third tier with Leyton Orient and Zach Hemming is currently in Scotland with St Mirren.

All three loan deals contain a recall option for January, and Carrick will spend the next few weeks pondering his options and assessing where his loanees are at in terms of their career development.

“It’s something we’ve got to look at, and something we’re obviously aware of,” said the Boro boss. “The situation is not new to us.


“(Recalling loanees) is one of the options we have, although there is all sorts of thinking that goes into that. You have to consider each individual as well.

“Of course, what’s best for us and what we need as a team is important. But there is a big element of each situation and what’s best for the individual, which might not be pulling them back because we need them.

“They’ve got their development to think about, so it’s not as easy as just, 'Let’s get every goalkeeper back that we’ve got’. There’s an awful lot goes into that thought process, and when we make the decision, we’ll try to make sure that it’s the best one for everyone.”

Boro’s thinking ahead of the January transfer window has also been influenced by the ankle injury that will sidelined centre-half Darragh Lenihan for the rest of the season.

With Tommy Smith also having been ruled out of the rest of the campaign because of an Achilles injury, the Teessiders suddenly find themselves running out of defensive options, with their main central-defensive alternative, Rav van den Berg, having to cover for Smith’s absence at right-back.

“It’s an example of how things always move,” said Carrick. “There are always moving parts when you’re trying to balance the squad through a transfer window. You have elements like, ‘This one is fit and this one isn't fit, this one is in form and this one isn't etc’.

“It's never set - there are always changes along the line and part of the planning we do is making sure we’re ready for that. Losing players, especially senior players, is a blow and it’s disappointing, but that’s why we have the squad and other boys are there to take the opportunity, take the chances and flourish. They’ve certainly done that of late.”