Middlesbrough are set to assess utility man Paddy McNair this week according to the club’s official website, after he missed Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Italy on Monday evening.

Middlesbrough haven’t had many options in defence recently and have had to play Paddy McNair in both a back-four and a back-three.

The likes of Dael Fry, Anfernee Dijksteel, Darnell Fisher, Grant Hall, and Marc Bola have all been out injured and could miss out again when Boro take on Millwall this weekend.

As could McNair, which could prove to be a headache for new manager Chris Wilder in his first game in charge. If none of the aforementioned injured six players are fit and available, this would leave just Lee Peltier and Sol Bamba at the Boro boss’ disposal.

Jonny Howson has played at right-back this season and could deputise at the back again if needed. Whilst there could be a place for Neil Taylor who joined the club on a trial period this week.

McNair has been one of Middlesbrough’s standout performers so far and will have wanted to get off to a positive start under his new manager. But he may have to wait for this chance, should the assessment provide a negative outcome.

Boro are also sweating on the fitness of top scorer Andraz Sporar. The Slovenian pulled out of his side’s game on international duty at the weekend after initially being named in their starting eleven. He has returned to Middlesbrough’s training complex Rockcliffe along with McNair.