JOSH COBURN’S ongoing groin issue is still having to be carefully managed, but Michael Carrick insists it is not inevitable that the striker will need an operation to properly rectify the problem.

Coburn underwent a minor procedure on his groin at the end of last year, with Carrick having had to carefully regulate the 21-year-old’s match minutes in the month-and-a-half since.

The forward has only made two starts in all competitions since the middle of November, with his involvement in last weekend’s derby draw with Sunderland limited to just 13 minutes off the substitutes’ bench.

It remains to be seen whether he is deemed fit enough to start tomorrow’s Championship home game with Bristol City, with Carrick admitting he is still having to be nursed through his playing and training schedule.

“We’re still having to manage Josh,” confirmed the Boro boss. “He had a small procedure on his groin before Christmas to see him through, and he’s just been managing that a bit.

“We feel we’ve done alright with that, and he’s getting through it. He has good days and days when he struggles a bit, so that’s just part of us managing it, really. We’re having to do that game to game, and week to week.”


By managing the issue as carefully as they are, Boro’s medical staff are hoping to avoid the need for more serious surgery further down the line, something Carrick is also understandably keen to guard against.

“It’s not necessarily the case that he’ll need surgery in the future,” said the Boro boss. “That’s not necessarily the case, and it’s part of what we’re trying to manage.

“I think at some point during the season, all of the boys will have little things that need managing. I can’t remember playing a game when I was fully fit and didn’t have something going on.

“It’s part of the game really. We’re just trying to make the best of it, and trying to get through this little period so he’s better at the end of it.”