Middlesbrough have been struggling defensively this season, especially at left back, with plenty of opposition attacks coming down that flank.

Injuries to captain George Friend and youngster Hayden Coulson have meant Middlesbrough are very limited at left back, with Marc Bola and Ryan Shotton in rotation in this role.

Both Bola and Shotton have struggled to deputise on the left side of defence, with the former being seen as a long term option rather than short term, and the latter naturally a centre back.

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But The Northern Echo have reported today that although Friend is about four or five weeks away from full fitness, Coulson could return to the fold as early as after the international break next week, and he has rejoined training.

This would certainly be good news for Boro, and for Head Coach Jonathan Woodgate, who is in desperate need of a win or two to propel his side up the table and away from the drop zone.

Coulson’s return means there will be more of a balance to the side, and with a lot of attacks from opponents coming down the left, this will hopefully nullify this threat more regularly.

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Middlesbrough face West Brom next Saturday, with the Baggies the only unbeaten side in the Championship.

Boro come into the game 20th in the table, and on the back of one of their worst performances of the season so far against Birmingham, and Woodgate will be hoping for a response against one of the divisions big hitters.


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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook