MIDDLESBROUGH will again be without attacking duo Emmanuel Latte Lath and Isaiah Jones for Sunday's game against Sunderland.

Latte Lath hasn't played for Boro since suffering an ankle injury in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea and head coach Michael Carrick says the striker is still "weeks" away from being in contention to return.

The timeframe for Jones is not quite as clear, with the winger sidelined after going down with a hamstring injury in the last Championship game against Rotherham.

Goalkeeper Seny Dieng is closing in on a return to fitness having been ruled out since the middle of December with a thigh problem that forced him to return home early from the African Cup of Nations. And Carrick has revealed that Alex Bangura faces at least a couple of months out with a hamstring injury, with Luke Thomas arriving at the back end of the January transfer window to bolster the left-back department.

With Latte Lath still out, Josh Coburn is pushing for a start against Sunderland on Sunday. The Bedale-born striker has only started one league game since the middle of November because of an ongoing groin problem that is having to be closely managed, but Carrick believes the week and a half break after the Chelsea game has benefited the 21-year-old.

"I hope so. He's trained. We've had to manage him over recent weeks, maybe even leading into months," said Carrick of Coburn.

"That's the responsibility of us to get that right and make the best of what he can do. He's fine."

On Latte Lath, Carrick said: "He's a little bit away yet.

"A few weeks. It will be weeks rather than days but Manu isn't massively far away."


Carrick continued: “Izzy is a little bit further off but Seny is closer.

"He (Seny) is kind of just getting back to training. It’s funny in a way because he was due to go away and now he’s just getting back to training. So it’s a period we didn’t expect to have him anyway. But he’s getting back to training, so we’ll ease him back and make sure he is ready."

Strengthening at left-back wasn't on the to-do list at the start of the January window but Boro were forced into a rethink after Bangura's injury and moved to sign Thomas, who spent the first half of the season in the Premier League on loan at Sheffield United.

Carrick said: “It’s probably looking like being towards the back end of the season (for Bangura).

"Hopefully not, but we’re thinking we’re looking at eight weeks or so for Alex.

“We’re delighted to have Luke. For a younger player he brings an awful lot of experience at a top level.

"When the opportunity came up for us, it was an important one that we made the most of.

"We know that Alex will be out for a good number of weeks so it was important we had cover and we had balance within the group. He brings an awful lot of qualities so we’re delighted to have him with us for the rest of the season."