Former Middlesbrough Midfielder On Trial at Sincil Bank

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Conor Malley is on trial at Sincil Bank, and appeared in this afternoon’s 4-0 reverse against Sheffield United.

Malley is one of two trialists who appeared, but the only one to have been ‘outed’ thus far. He played 60 minutes in the second game but struggled to make an impression in a youthful midfield with one other trialist, and youngster Morgan Worsfold-Gregg.

The 22-year-old began his career in Sunderland’s youth academy but moved to Boro to complete his youth career, where he appeared for their Under 21 side in the EFL trophy. He was handed a professional deal in 2019, signing a three-year contract, before being sent on a loan spell with Scottish Championship side Ayr Utd, where he played five times, scoring once. He returned to Boro and was sent out on loan to Carlisle United the following season, but only appeared a handful of times in League Two as a sub.

He returned to Middlesbrough and made his Championship debut in April 2021, coming on for Grant Hall after 24 minutes of a 2-1 win at Rotherham. He played twice more at that level, and once in the EFL Cup last season, before being sent to Gateshead on loan. He impressed at a level far beneath him but was released by Chris Wilder this summer.

He has been on trial with Huddersfield as they seek to flesh out their youth setup, but that hasn’t worked out and he’s now with the Imps, looking a lot like the love-child of Ted Bishop and Ben House. Gateshead-based journalist Matty Hewitt, formerly an Echo writer, has said on Twitter that Malley is “technically really good. A level above NLN last season and impressed Neil Warnock who gave him his debut at Boro. Strangely didn’t play for Boro first team after ‘outstanding’ debut. Similar to Jorge Grant but obviously without the Football League experience he had.”

Whether League One is his level, given his limited experience with Carlisle, remains to be seen. Expect to see him feature again for the Imps before the summer is out, as Mark Kennedy adds depth to his current squad.