MICHAEL Carrick has challenged Isaiah Jones to make use of his blistering pace and get in behind opposition defences - as he did in devastating fashion against Preston North End on Tuesday night.

Jones surged in behind the Preston backline to slot home his opener and repeated the trick 20 minutes later when he coolly lifted the ball over Freddie Woodman, taking his goal tally to the season for five.

And Carrick hopes there's more of that to come from his winger.

"I wish I was as quick as him, I would have done it a lot more if I was that quick," smiled the head coach after Tuesday night's 4-0 win.

"It saves him having to dribble. It's a weapon to have. You have to be smart enough, bright enough and clever enough to use it at the right time and in the right way but it certainly doesn't always have to be feet and dribble.

"If you can take someone out of a game by a run and a pass then fantastic. It's one of them, stop start against anyone he'd back himself with how sharp he is."

With Marcus Forss and Riley McGree sidelined through injury, Jones is one of the attacking players who Boro need to deliver, and while finding consistency is still a work in progress for the 24-year-old, on his day he's capable of terrorising Championship defences - as he showed against Preston.

Carrick said: "He's dangerous and he has his moments when he's really dangerous. Goals are the ideal scenario, end product and goals.

"We have a scenario at the minute where we don't have one who's scoring every week but we're sharing them out and we have threats across the whole frontline which is encouraging. It was Izzy's turn tonight and hopefully he can build on that."


Jones is one yellow card away from a suspension and while Carrick didn't bring that up before the Preston game in his conversations with the winger, he did have a quiet word at half-time in the Boro dressing room on Tuesday night, with Saturday's Leeds trip in mind.

"I didn't have the conversation before the game, I did at half-time and said be careful," said Carrick.

"But I wouldn't want to get in his head before the game, it's part of football and that's how he is. But in the second half I told him to be careful and took him off to look after him a bit."