Middlesbrough play Rochdale in the second round of the Carabao Cup this evening, and Tony Pulis said he is set to play the youngsters.
There is expected to be little in the way of change from the last round in the Carabao Cup, with Middlesbrough set to give fringe players and youngsters a game against Rochdale.
Here is the predicted XI for Middlesbrough tonight.
GK – Andy Lonergan
Andy Lonergan was the penalty hero in the last round, but his performance in the 90 minutes was very poor. Plenty of Middlesbrough fans would prefer Dimi Konstantopoulos to start, but I think Pulis will back Lonergan again.
RB – Enes Mahmutovic
The centre-back has looked good playing in an unfamiliar role in both pre-season and in the previous round of this competition. He scored Boro’s second goal in their 3-3 draw with Notts County earlier this month.
CB – Nathan Wood
Wood made history by becoming Middlesbrough’s youngest ever player to play a competitive fixture, and was the first 2002 born player to play in England for any club. He looked comfortable and I expect him to get a start tonight.
CB – Aden Flint
To partner Wood it could be one of three names, Dani Ayala and Dael Fry could line up alongside the 16-year old, but I expect the more experienced and fitter Aden Flint to play.
LB – Djed Spence
Spence has been very impressive in the under-23 set up since arriving from Fulham in the summer, and was one of Boro’s standout players in the Carabao Cup first round when he came on as a sub early on.
CM – Grant Leadbitter
He may have a tough time budging Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson and Muhamed Besic from the first team but Grant Leadbitter will undoubtedly start this game.
CM – Lewis Wing
Wing started the season incredibly well and looked excellent in the 5-3-2 formation. He was dropped for match winner Dani Ayala on Friday, but should come back in to feature against Rochdale.
CM – Paddy McNair
The summer signing is still finding his feet at Boro, and is yet to start a Championship game for the club. He is slowly working his way back to full fitness, but he should start this evening.
RW – Marcus Tavernier
Tavernier is certainly one for the future, and is on the fringes of the first team almost week-in-week-out. A good performance will stand him in good stead for the remainder of the season.
ST – Ashley Fletcher
Linked with a move away this summer, Ashley Fletcher looks to be staying put. His two goals in the last round will give him some confidence, and I’d back him to score another against Rochdale.
LW – Marvin Johnson
Another player linked with a move away was Marvin Johnson. Both Sheffield United and Hull City remain interested, but Johnson was a standout player in the last round and has played himself into Pulis’ plans going forwards.