Michael Carrick hints at Middlesbrough team selection approach for Huddersfield cup

MIDDLESBROUGH head for Huddersfield Town tonight “desperate” to advance in the Carabao Cup – but Michael Carrick admits he’ll have to strike a balance with his team selection.

Carrick won’t make 11 changes to his team after the opening day defeat to Millwall at the Riverside but the Boro head coach will shuffle his pack to give crucial match minutes to those who need them.


Club captain Jonny Howson could start after coming off the bench on Saturday, while Carrick must also decide whether Chuba Akpom and Josh Coburn are ready for action after the pair – who missed all of pre-season through injury – were unused substitutes against the Lions


Carrick is also likely to give the likes of Rav van den Berg, Isaiah Jones and Martin Payero an opportunity to impress, while Tom Glover could be in line to make his first competitive start for Boro between the post

Neil Warnock will also make changes to his Huddersfield team but regardless of how both sides start, Carrick speaks from experience when he says it’ll be a tough test for Boro. Warnock’s relegation-threatened Terriers stunned Carrick’s men back in April at the John Smith’s Stadium.

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Both Boro and Huddersfield are looking to recover from their opening day setbacks tonight – Town lost 3-1 at Plymouth – and although the Carabao Cup isn’t the priority on Teesside, Carrick wants to progress to the second round.


“It’ll be the same as any other game really – we want to put out the strongest team we can within reason,” said the Boro boss.

“We’re desperate to try to win the game. It won’t be easy. We know – we had a tough game down there last season. We understand what we’re going into, and there’s a balance between boys who need the game and other boys who played on Saturday and have maybe played a little bit more.


“We’ll judge that, but we certainly won’t be playing a whole new team by any stretch of the imagination.


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Warnock must decide whether to play Tom Lees tonight after the defender, who missed all of pre-season through injury, returned to training. Matty Pearson looks set to miss out after suffering a dead leg against Plymouth, but Teessider Jonathan Hogg could play after returning from an ankle injury.


Town’s assistant boss Ronnie Jepson confirmed Warnock plans to make changes for the game, and is calling on the home supporters to play their part against Boro.


He said: “Middlesbrough is a great test – but we’ll be a tough opponent for them too. It’s a good one for the fans to see a few of the other players.


“The John Smith’s Stadium was rocking last season; it was incredible. We’ll need them to show patience at times, but it’s down to us as staff and players to get them going again. We’re really proud to represent these fans.”

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