Middlesbrough’s Hayden Coulson was absent from Middlesbrough’s pre-season friendly v Plymouth Argyle yesterday, amid links to both Ipswich Town and Sunderland.

Coulson, 23, featured 17 times in the Championship for Middlesbrough last season.

Since, he’s been backed to leave the club on loan with League One sides Ipswich Town and Sunderland both in the running.

But Coulson has supposedly picked up a thigh injury in training recently and East Anglian Daily Times’ Stuart Watson quoted Boro boss Neil Warnock as saying:

Both Ipswich and Sunderland will have top-six aspirations going into the next season.

The Tractor boys brought in Paul Cook midway through last season and have since had a promising transfer window, whilst Lee Johnson’s Sunderland were knocked out in the play-off semi-finals by Lincoln City last season and have received mixed reviews of their summer so far.

Coulson though would be a keen signing for both – he’s a defender able to fill in right across the back line and that kind of versatility can be so useful, especially in the fixture-heavy Football League.

His injury though is obviously a blow to both him and to Sunderland and Ipswich Town. Whether the injury is significant enough to scupper his potential loan move this summer remains to be seen but given that he didn’t feature v Plymouth, the signs suggest that Boro are throwing caution to the wind.

Boro are next in action against York City next week and expect both Cook and Johnson to keep a lookout for whether Coulson features or not.