Championship

Middlesbrough: Rudy Gestede and Hayden Coulson doubtful for Blackburn trip

Middlesbrough: Rudy Gestede and Hayden Coulson doubtful for Blackburn trip

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has been dealt two new injury concerns this week ahead of Saturday’s Championship fixture at Blackburn.

The Hartlepool Mail reported that Rudy Gestede and Hayden Coulson are doubtful to feature for ‘Boro in tomorrow’s game at Ewood Park.

Woodgate was quoted in the Hartlepool Mail as saying: “Rudy Gestede has got bilateral hamstring tightness, so he will be getting an epidural. Hayden Coulson has a bit of a knock and could be struggling too.”

Gestede has been plagued by injury problems and a poor goal return since moving to Middlesbrough from Aston Villa in January 2017.

He has scored just six times in 50 appearances for the club and has not found the net since a brace against Hull 18 months ago.

His 2017/18 season was curtailed by leg and ankle injuries and the effects of those seemed to spill over into the following campaign, with Gestede making only eight appearances last term and failing to score.

He was substituted after an hour of the Carabao Cup clash against Crewe in midweek, with Gazette Live reporter Dominic Shaw tweeting that the Benin striker’s withdrawal drew “the loudest cheer of the night” with ‘Boro trailing 0-2 at that point before two late goals took the game to penalties.

His recent record pales in comparison with fellow strikers Britt Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher, who scored 16 and nine goals respectively last season and are both off the mark for this campaign.

Coulson had started at left-back in Middlesbrough’s first two Championship games of the season, making his first team debut in the 3-3 draw at Luton earlier this month.

The 21-year-old had loan spells at St Mirren and Cambridge last season before being given his chance in ‘Boro’s first team by Woodgate in recent weeks.

The youngster recorded some impressive statistics in the early weeks of the campaign, with a total of six tackles and six interceptions in his two Championship appearances so far [via WhoScored].

However, he has plenty of scope for improvement in terms of ball retention, with 22 of his 66 passes over the last two games failing to find a team-mate.

Coulson’s likely absence so soon after getting his break in the team is disappointing, especially with the effervescence he has shown from left-back – Hartlepool Mail‘s Joe Nicholson noted that he “was a constant outlet” on his debut against Luton.

However, at least his likely replacement Marc Bola comes into the weekend with game time and a goal under his belt from Tuesday night’s clash against Crewe.

As for Gestede, his misfortunes of recent months suggest that he would have been very unlikely to start against Blackburn anyway, especially with Assombalonga and Fletcher showing much better form.

Middlesbrough fans, how much would the probable absences of Coulson and Gestede weaken the team for tomorrow? Comment below with your thoughts!

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