Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has hinted that he could play Paddy McNair as a wing-back against Leeds United on Saturday afternoon.
The 24-year-old has been a regular under Woodgate this term, and has been a standout performer for Boro after producing a number of standout performances in the middle of the park.
The Northern Ireland international has flourished in a central midfield role in Woodgate’s 3-5-2 system this term, but he could be set to start elsewhere on the pitch this weekend.
Anfernee Dijksteel – who has been Boro’s first-choice right wing-back this term – was ruled out of action for up to four weeks after picking up a knee injury against Barnsley in midweek.
With Britt Assombalonga and Darren Randolph also doubtful for the trip to Elland Road, the odds are certainly stacked in Leeds’ favour this weekend.
Whilst admitting that McNair is also struggling with a glute problem, Woodgate, via the Hartlepool Mail, said that he could play as a wing-back if he is fit.
He said: “That’s why I need to be careful with Paddy McNair, he’s really struggling. Against Hull the other day he was really struggling but I had to keep him on the pitch.
“Against Barnsley, he was struggling, it was an injury he picked up on international duty so I will have to see how he is.”
Boro go into Saturday’s clash with the Whites after winning just three games this season – they picked up only their third league win of the campaign against Barnsley in midweek.
Middlesbrough are really struggling on the injury front this weekend, making their chances of picking up three points even slimmer.
McNair has been arguably Boro’s best player so far this season, producing a series of full-blooded, energetic performances in the middle of the park.
With Assombalonga and Randolph also doubtful for the trip to West Yorkshire, it could be a very difficult afternoon for Boro.