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Aug 25, 2014

Karanka to ring changes

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Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is likely to make changes once again for Tuesday's Capital One Cup second-round clash with Preston.

The Spaniard shuffled his pack for the first-round victory over Oldham and is expected to do so again in the wake of Saturday's 3-2 Sky Bet Championship defeat by Sheffield Wednesday at the Riverside Stadium.

Goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos is one of those who could get a chance with Karanka's first-choice Tomas Mejias going through a difficult spell, although Jason Steele too would relish the opportunity to play.

However, defenders Jonathan Woodgate and Ben Gibson, who both missed out against Wednesday with hamstring injuries, are unlikely to be involved ahead of Reading's league visit to Teesside at the weekend.

Utility-man Rhys Williams (Achilles) and midfielder Muzzy Carayol (cruciate ligament) remain on the long-term casualty list as they continue to work their way back to full match fitness.

Preston boss Simon Grayson has "one or two players to analyse" for the trip after a busy start to the season but Jordan Hugill is hoping to feature against his home-town club.

The 22-year-old summer signing came off the bench late on in the last round and was again a second-half substitute when making his home debut in Saturday's win against Oldham at Deepdale.

"I was looking forward to it, the gaffer put me in the squad and I thought I did myself justice," Hugill told PNE Player. "I'm a Middlesbrough fan, so to be playing at the Riverside, hopefully, would be a dream for me. After the draw, my phone went mental with texts from all my friends."

Scott Laird returned to the starting XI ahead of Ben Davies at left-back over the weekend and the 26-year-old is another player determined to keep his place.

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