The first round of Championship midweek games begin tonight as the Clarets make the long trip up to the north east to take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside.
Middlesbrough v Burnley
7.45pm – Riverside Stadium – NPower Championship
After all the buildup surrounding the Bolton game, the Clarets head into a much lower key affair in good spirits, aiming to emulate last seasons result against a strong Boro side.
Saturday’s impressive 2-0 defeat of Bolton was arguably Eddie Howe’s finest game as Burnley manager so far and he will be hoping his side can chalk up a second straight win to equal the Club’s best start for six years.
Howe is expected to stick with the same starting XI that started Saturday’s win with the impressive pairing of Martin Paterson and Charlie Austin likely to keep new boy Sam Vokes on the bench.
Marvin Bartley has returned to the squad following a quicker than expected recovery from an ankle injury but Keith Treacy’s troubled groin is likely to keep him out and Danny Ings remains on the sidelines.
Following Middlesbrough’s defeat on the opening day of the season, boss Tony Mowbray may well ring the changes tonight in an attempt to kick-start their season.
Josh McEachran has been drafted in on loan from Chelsea and could well start in midfield, while Merouane Zemmama, Kevin Thomson and Andrew Halliday are also pushing for starts.
Summer recruit Mustapha Carayol is likely to miss out, while Lukas Jutkiewicz and Joe Bennett will definitely miss the game due to long-term injuries.
The Manager: Tony Mowbray
Mowbray is already embedded in Boro folklore after leading his hometown club from the lows of liquidation to the Premier League during his playing days. His popular appointment as manager in 2010 heralded an upturn in form for the club, as he helped steer them from 22nd to finish 12th after a disappointing start under former manager Gordon Strachan. Last campaign was his first full season in charge, and the former Hibs and Celtic manager guided Middlesbrough to a seventh place finish, narrowly missing out on the play-offs. Having previously won promotion from the Championship with West Brom, Mowbray will be hoping to use his experience to help build a side capable of mounting another promotion push this term.
Middlesbrough kicked off their completive season with a routine 2-1 win away at Bury in the Capital One Cup last Tuesday to set up a second round tie with Gillingham. However, their start to the new Championship season began with a disappointing defeat to relegation-tipped Barnsley at Oakwell last Saturday. Barnsley’s Craig Davies scored what proved to be the only goal in a frustrating 1-0 defeat for the Boro.
Dangerman: Josh McEachran
Only signed on loan from Chelsea yesterday, the England Under-21 star is highly expected to go straight into the Boro line-up for tonight’s game. Since making his debut in Chelsea’s 2010/11 Champions League campaign, the diminutive midfielder has only fleetingly appeared for the European Cup champions, finding his chances limited due to the array of midfield talent Roberto Di Matteo has at his disposal. A brief spell on loan at Swansea last year was supposed to be the catalyst for a push towards first team football but instead he has again been allowed to go out on loan, with Middlesbrough fending off interest from a host of Premier League clubs to secure his signature. Possessing a cultured left foot, the creative midfielder will be key to Boro’s hopes of unlocking Burnley’s defence tonight should Tony Mowbray decide to give him his debut.
Just For Fun
Chris Kamara – Believe it or not, the comical curly top reporter once used to be a football manager. Kamara – now more associated with his unique interpretations of match reporting for Soccer Saturdays – is renowned for being a big Boro fan.