Positive Middlesbrough injury update ahead of the start of pre-season after challenging campaign

Michael Carrick expects to have the majority of his Middlesbrough players fit to train at the start of pre-season, including Hayden Hackney.

Boro endured a difficult season thanks to injuries, with many key players missing large portions of it. While there remains a little uncertainty around the exact time that Tommy Smith, Riley McGree and Marcus Forss will be able to resume full training after lengthy injuries, it is expected that the rest of Boro's players should be good to go when the players reconvene at Rockliffe at the end of June/start of July for pre-season.

Hackney will be among them after he endured a frustrating end to the season. Injuring his knee at Preston North End on Valentine's Night, it prematurely ended his campaign as he missed the final two-and-a-half months. But offering an update after Alex Bangura played some valuable minutes and Josh Coburn returned to the squad for the final game of the season against Watford, Carrick had positive news on the Boro star man.

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He said: “He [Hackney] was close and we could have forced him back. His knee is fine, it’s just a little painful when kicking. It’s medial and I’ve had that myself. It’s when you’re kicking and side footing. It catches a little and it can be a little painful.

"You’ve got to kind of work through it a bit because it’s unfortunately just how the injury is. But there was no point in trying to rush him at the end of the season. He’ll be fine and there’ll be no problems at the start of pre-season.”

After struggling with so many injuries throughout this campaign, Carrick is hoping for much better luck next term. He recently dismissed that there was much more they could have done as a club to improve the record, putting it down to trends across the game and bad luck, after the club launched a review into the crisis. There are plans to upgrade facilities at Rockliffe over the summer, however, while the medical team is also expected to be added to as well.