Middlesbrough make major decision on Josh Coburn - will miss next Bristol Rovers match

Bristol Rovers are short in the strikers department against Rochdale
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Bristol Rovers will be without striker Josh Coburn at the weekend after Middlesbrough did not want him to be cup tied. The Gas face Rochdale in the first round of the FA Cup on Saturday but will be without the 19-year-old.

Coburn joined on a season-long loan from the Championship club on Deadline Day, but it took a month for him to make his debut. The striker has performed well with three goals in eight matches and has been tubbed the Teesside Haaland by his teammates.

Chris Wilder was at the helm when Coburn’s departure was greenlighted but he has since lost his job. Manchester United legend Michael Carrick has since taken over and there has been a decision taken which will affect Rovers.

Boro have decided to include a clause in the loan agreement that means he is unable to feature in the FA Cup at the risk of being cup tied. Joey Barton revealed the news to BristolLive in his pre-match press conference that Coburn would be absent.

“We’ve got Josh Coburn cup-tied,” said Barton. “Middlesbrough have decided to hold on to Josh. It’s not an injury, but we’ll be one option lighter, but he should be even fitter for the league game the following Saturday.

"We were the same when I was at Fleetwood. If we loaned players out, we wouldn’t let them play in FA Cup just in case we need them. Disappointing as Josh wants to play football and he’s been really good this week, but I also totally understand it."

Coburn had a breakthrough year on Teesside last year scoring five Championship goals and had an FA Cup moment by knocking out Tottenham Hotspur but that won’t come with Rovers. Middlesbrough hold a recall option on Coburn in January, though it had been hoped he would remain at the Memorial Stadium for the season. Barton believed that their patience of waiting for Coburn to recover from an injury would allow them to have him for the campaign.

A change in management however could mean that Carrick - the man in the Riverside Stadium hot seat - may want to take a closer look at him. Carrick watched and analysed Coburn’s performance against Sheffield Wednesday last week in which he scored.

Rovers have Coburn for at least the next eight League One matches and an EFL Trophy match before they are able to recall him. Should Rovers beat Rochdale on Saturday then he would be unavailable for a second round tie at the end of November.

Rovers’ other loan players Bobby Thomas and Lewis Gibson, on loan from Burnley and Everton respectively, have been given permission to play. Gibson is unlikely to feature due to a groin injury but Thomas has missed just one game since arriving which was due to suspension.