First Round action from this season’s Carabao Cup continues as Middlesbrough host Shrewsbury Town at the Riverside Stadium, with both teams looking to join Blackburn, Portsmouth, Preston and Stoke in the hat for Round Two.
This match marks Boro’s first cup game under Neil Warnock, who signed a new contract after initially replacing Jonathan Woodgate for their last eight games of last season.
Hayden Coulson is unlikely to feature for Middlesbrough due to illness.
Midfield duo of Paddy McNair and George Saville meanwhile are away on international duty with Northern Ireland.
Shrewsbury will be without Ollie Norburn due to a knee injury which required surgery.
Josh Vela is suspended for this match after being sent off against Oxford United in the Shrews’ last competitive fixture, which was played back in March.
- This is the first-ever League Cup meeting between Middlesbrough and Shrewsbury, although Middlesbrough won their three previous cup clashes against Shrewsbury in all cup competitions (W2, D1).
- Shrewsbury are winless in eight of nine previous trips to Middlesbrough, with their only win coming against Boro’s U-23 team in November 2016 in EFL Trophy (W1, D1, L7).
- Boro have exited at this stage once across their last six seasons, which came at home to Crewe Alexandra.
- Shrewsbury are looking to end a run of three consecutive first round exits and move into the second stage for the first time since 2016-17 season.
- Ashley Fletcher has scored three goals in two First Round appearances for Middlesbrough across last two seasons.
Middlesbrough will be relieved to have only McNair and Saville away on international duty because after an inconsistent campaign last season, this is a huge opportunity to prove that their late rally under Warnock wasn’t just a fluke and instead the start of something stronger heading into the new season.
Shrewsbury meanwhile didn’t exactly finish their curtailed season well with two wins from their last nine matches so will be looking to kick-start this season with victory themselves.
Defending therefore will be key but if Boro can turn up and continue their progress under Warnock, this should be a comfortable win.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 3-1 Shrewsbury Town
Result: Middlesbrough 4-3 Shrewsbury Town