Although Middlesbrough have struggled in the Premier League this season, an FA Cup run is still on the agenda for Aitor Karanka’s side during this campaign.
In the third round, Boro eased past Sheffield Wednesday, beating the Championship side 3-0 at the Riverside thanks to goals from Negredo, De Roon and Leadbitter.
During that tie, Karanka fielded a fairly strong side as he branded the game and competition ‘important’ to the club.
However, on that occasion, Middlesbrough had a week to recover for their Premier League tie with Watford. This time around, it’s Saturday and Tuesday for the Spaniards men as they welcome West Brom to town just three days later.
Despite little rest, it must be said, the Teessiders should progress against League Two opposition due to the strength of their squad.
A welcome selection headache for Karanka, with many fringe players crying out for opportunities at the club.
Here’s the ReadMiddlesbrough predicted XI.
A return to the 4-2-3-1?
ST: Rudy Gestede
The striker made his home debut for the club on Saturday and it’s likely he’ll start against lesser opposition in the cup. Negredo has been ever present for Boro, but with West Brom so close, the Former Manchester City man should drop to the bench.
LM: Viktor Fischer
The Danish international has yet to feature for Boro since his return from injury. With a space opening up on the left following an injury to Ramirez, it’s likely he’ll get his chance to impress.
CAM: Patrick Bamford
The forward returned rejoined Boro at the end of last week and made his second debut for the club against West Ham. With the forward in need of a confidence boost, it’s likely he’ll get a chance in the FA Cup.
RM: Adama Traore
The pacey winger set the Riverside a light against West Ham and should start the game against Stanley. With the way West Brom set up deep, with no space in behind, he’s likely to be rested for that tie.
DM: Grant Leadbitter
The Boro skipper has found himself down the pecking order on Teesside this year. He scored in the last round and will more than likely be involved again.
DM: Marten De Roon
Since joining the Boro in the summer for £12m, the Holland international has found him self ever present in the heart of Boro’s midfield. He also scored in the last round so he’s clearly in Aitor’s cup plans.
LB: George Friend
At left-back Boro don’t really have much choice other than Fabio, and we’ve put him in on the right. Friend is an ever reliable player who should start the game for Karanka’s side.
The Spaniard has found himself in the first team in recent weeks and he could hold down his spot from last weekend. Ben Gibson is a mainstay for Boro but was rested during the last round. Same again.
CB: Dael Fry
The young CB made a breakthrough during Boro’s Championship promotion campaign and has been re-called from a loan spell at Rotherham.
And with Ayala suspended, he could step in to give the on-loan Calum Chambers a well deserved rest ahead of West Brom.
The Former Manchester United man has impressed at the Riverside in recent weeks and an injury to Barragan could see him step in at right-back.
GK: Brad Guzan
The american joined Boro in the summer and has faired quite well since he move from Aston Villa.
However, the stopper has played second fiddle to Victor Vales in the league, but it looks like Karanka has selected him as his Fa Cup keeper.
Guzan played well and kept a clean sheet in the 3rd round tie with Wednesday.
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