Colin Cooper could be on his way back to Middlesbrough after opening talks over a return to the coaching staff.

The 44-year-old former Boro defender, who worked under Gareth Southgate during his time in charge at the Riverside Stadium, is being lined up for a role with the club's Under-18s.

Manager Tony Mowbray told the official website: "We have had discussions about Colin coming back and helping [Academy director] Dave Parnaby with the Under-18s."

He added: "Since Mark Proctor moved up to work with the first team, Dave has been doing that job on his own while at the same time overseeing everything to do with the Academy, from the under-nines upwards.

"Hopefully Colin will come and join us. It will be great to have a face we all know and who has the club very close to his heart."

Cooper, who made more than 400 appearances for the club, left Boro under a backroom reshuffle by then manager Gordon Strachan, but is available after leaving his post as assistant to new Bradford manager Phil Parkinson.

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