Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray taking Carling Cup seriously

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MIDDLESBROUGH boss Tony Mowbray insists he will take the Carling Cup seriously despite contemplating changes ahead of tonight’s trip to Peterborough.

Despite making an unbeaten start to the campaign, which has elevated Boro to third place in the Championship, Mowbray is wary about starting his “strongest” XI after the injury to striker Scott McDonald.

This will be Boro’s fourth game in 11 days and Mowbray is keen to give the likes of Seb Hines and Richie Smallwood some much-needed game time.

He said: “I am tempted to make some changes, but we are taking a very strong squad with us. There won’t be any wholesale changes, it won’t be a case of playing lots of youngsters and we will go out to win the game.

“As a manager, it is sometimes about trusting players and there are a few players who haven’t played much this season who I do trust, who’ve shown in the past that they can do a good job in the first team and so there is a fair chance that some of them will be involved.”

Mowbray’s acknowledges the thin nature of his squad and the hamstring injury suffered by McDonald in the 3-1 home win against Birmingham leaves Boro with just one recognised striker in Marvin Emnes, following Lee Miller’s exit to Carlisle on a two-year deal.

Teenager Curtis Main is included in the squad. Mowbray said: “It puts a heavy burden on Marvin, with Scott being injured. But we’ll come up with a way of playing that’ll hopefully benefit the team.

“It is a big opportunity for Curtis.

“He doesn’t train with the first team on a daily basis, he trains with our young professionals, but we saw enough of him in pre-season to show that he deserves his chance to come along with the first team.

“If we feel there is a benefit of getting him on the pitch and playing with two strikers then maybe he’ll have a part to play.”

Posh crushed Ipswich 7-1 on Saturday, and Mowbray warned: “It’s a big test for us we will have to be solid and prevent them from creating chances but also ask some questions of them defensively.”

MIDDLESBROUGH (probable): Coyne, McMahon, McManus, Hines, Bennett, Smallwood, Bailey, Martin, Robson, Haroun; Emnes. Subs (from): Ripley, R Williams, Bates, Arca, Kink, Halliday, Franks, L Williams; Main.