MICHAEL Carrick says Hayden Hackney's absence from the Middlesbrough squad at Hull City was "no big drama" - with the head coach stressing patience with the midfielder as he makes his way back from a knee injury.

Hackney hasn't kicked a ball for Boro since he suffered the injury in the defeat at Preston back in February, and although he returned to the squad for Saturday's win over Swansea City, Carrick admitted afterwards the Teessider wasn't really ready to play.

Carrick himself suffered a similar injury to Hackney's back in his playing career and he says small setbacks are inevitable.

It's not clear at this stage whether Hackney will be available for Saturday's game at Ipswich, but Carrick won't rush the 21-year-old.


"He's had that injury with his medial, it's that kind of injury, I've had it when I was younger and a couple of the boys have had it, when you start kicking the ball the odd time there's a little reaction," explained the head coach.

"Anyone who's had it will understand that. He was on the bench to be around the boys at the weekend and it was going to be too much and tonight, with Alex back around, he just needs that bit longer, but it's no big drama at all."

Alex Bangura was back on the bench at Hull, his first involvement in a matchday squad since the defeat to Coventry on New Year's Day.

But Carrick admitted earlier this week that Josh Coburn, Dael Fry and Paddy McNair are not yet back in training, and while the head coach hopes the trio return before the season is out, he admits he can't be sure.