MICHAEL Carrick says Middlesbrough are still waiting to discover the severity of Marcus Forss and Riley McGree's injury setbacks - but Boro look set to be without both key attackers at Southampton on Friday.

Forss hobbled out of the draw with Blackburn before the international break with a hamstring problem and Carrick was reluctant to give much away when pressed for an update.

Carrick says Boro are also still awaiting the outcome of scans on McGree's foot injury sustained while away on international duty with Australia. It's not clear at this stage how long McGree will be out of action, but Carrick says the injury is slightly different to the plantar fascia issue he had problems with earlier in the season.

To add to Carrick's woes, Boro are unlikely to be able to call on any of Dael Fry, Hayden Hackney, Josh Coburn or Alex Bangura at St Mary's on Friday. They're all making progress in their return from injury but Carrick says they're not yet ready to return.

Asked whether any of those four players are back in training, Carrick said: "Kind of yeah, not to the point where anyone is really particularly ready to come back just yet but hopefully it won't be too long."


On Forss and McGree, he added: "Obviously Marcus came off (against Blackburn). He missed going away. It's another one at the moment we're assessing and waiting. He's been scanned and seeing different people so we'll see how bad it looks.

“He felt a tightness in his hamstring. We’re just giving him as much time as possible.

"Riley has not been back in the country long, so it's assessing it, scanning it and seeing where he is and seeing if we can get him back involved."

Carrick will also closely assess the international players who are returning to Rockliffe, with Australian duo Sammy Silvera having faced a particularly long trip back to Teesside ahead of Boro travelling to Southampton on Thursday.

Carrick said: "Sammy and Tom have been away and it's a long way. It does make things more challenging.

"The boys mostly who've been away are experienced at it and used to it so it's just something you deal with and get used to.

"We still prepare for the game, we've had enough boys who have been in and around it and who are prepared anyway. You just have to adapt and be a bit more flexible."

Despite the injury, selection and travel issues, Carrick says Boro head south in good spirits after a four-game unbeaten run before the international stoppage.

He said: "Training has been good. We trained three days last week, came back in Monday so the boys had some time off.

"We managed to have some of the younger lads training with us which has been good for them to come up and have the experience and see what it's like to train with the first team and for us to work with them.

"It's really important we do that. It's been really enjoyable, the lads that have been here have worked well and prepared for the next set of games."