Middlesbrough’s medical staff will assess Kenneth Omeruo’s injury on his return after sustaining a groin injury while on international duty with Nigeria at the weekend.
Omeruo was substituted after just 13 minutes of Nigeria’s 1-1 draw with South Africa in Nelspruit, and is considered a major doubt for the remainder of the campaign.
The Chelsea loanee received extensive treatment on the sidelines prior to his replacement while extent of the injury will not be clear until detailed tests are conducted as the initial prognosis from the Nigerian camp was not positive.
The injury represents the latest setback in what has proved a difficult campaign for Omeruo, with his role in the Middlesbrough squad becoming increasingly peripheral.
He has only made 17 Championship starts all season, and has not featured at all in seven of Boro’s last eight games.
He remains a useful squad member, but last week’s signing of Fernando Amorebieta means Aitor Karanka is reasonably well stocked at centre-half, with Daniel Ayala, Ben Gibson and Jonathan Woodgate also competing for a place in the starting line-up.
This is Omeruo’s second season on loan at the Riverside, but even if Chelsea are willing to release him for a third successive campaign, he is unlikely to be back for a third time come the end of the summer.