Middlesbrough's defensive crisis has been dealt another blow with the news that Seb Hines has suffered an injury blow.
Boro are currently preparing for a crunch Tyne-Tees derby against Newcastle on Sunday, but have seen their plans thrown into disarray.
The North East outfit are currently struggling for centre-halves, with Chris Riggott injured and Sean St Ledger unavailable until his permanent move from Preston is pushed through on 1st January.
Hines was expected to deputise at the heart of the back four in their absence, but he too has been ruled out of action.
The 21-year-old was stretchered off during a reserve run-out against Morecambe on Tuesday and could be facing up to a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
He was taken to hospital with his leg in a brace after suffering an injury to his knee while challenging for a loose ball.
The full extent of the problem is not yet known, but he has already been ruled out of the trip to St James' Park.
Gordon Strachan is now expected to shift Emmanuel Pogatetz to centre-back, with Andrew Taylor taking over at left-back.