Middlesbrough vs Scunthorpe United
Date: 22nd August 2017.
Kickoff: 19:45 UK/20:45 CET
Venue: The Riverside Stadium
The League Cup was the last major trophy Middlesbrough have won. They won it in 2004 beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1. Scunthorpe, on the other hand, have never won the League Cup.
Despite the fact both teams would love to win the cup, it is likely that this season neither team will be too upset if they are knocked out. Especially Middlesbrough who’s main focus will be on returning to the Premier League.
Last season Middlesbrough went out in the second round of the League Cup. They lost 2-1 away to Fulham after extra time. This will be something Middlesbrough will be hoping to avoid this time around.
However, with such a busy Championship season ahead, Monk may well make several changes to his side that will face Scunthorpe.
This will surely include players like Adam Traore, who is yet to start a game in the Championship. But would absolutely terrify a League One defence. Another player Monk may look to is newly signed Ashley Fletcher. Fletcher has not made too much of an impact since coming to Boro. He played 60 minutes at Middlesbrough’s opening day defeat at Wolves. Other than that he has only appeared as a sub. However, the Scunthorpe game would be the perfect opportunity to start Fletcher and see what he can do.
As mentioned earlier the League Cup will not be a priority to Monk but given the quality of even Middlesbrough’s subs, you would think they will still have enough to see off League One Scunthorpe.
A win for Middlesbrough will also bring some confidence back into the side after their 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest.
Injury news: Martin Braithwaite is still having hamstring problems and is likely to miss the game.
As Scunthorpe are in League One they have already played one ELC game this year. They beat Notts County 6-5 on penalties after seeing out a 3-3 draw.
Scunthorpe, like Middlesbrough, may also be focused more on the league this season. This is because they were so close to winning promotion last season and will want to go all the way this time. They finished 3rd in League One last season. But they lost to Millwall in the semi finals of the playoffs.
Scunthorpe have enjoyed a decent start in League One this season. They are undefeated after drawing two and winning one. However, if Scunthorpe wants to keep up this undefeated streak they in the league they may have to make the cup second priority.
Luckily for the Scunthorpe fans, this is the cup and anything can happen and they will certainly believe they can go to Boro and cause an upset.
Injury news: Kevin Van Veen limped off against Oxford on Saturday and will miss the cup tie. Luke Williams, Kyle Wootton and Jonathon Margett are also injured and will miss the game.
Head to head
The two teams have met just 19 times in the clubs histories. Middlesbrough have won 10 times, Scunthorpe five and there has been four draws.
Boro have not faced Scunthorpe since 2011. Middlesbrough won 2-0 that day with Kris Boyd and Tony McMahon the scorers.
Scunthorpe have not won at the Riverside since 1961. They beat Boro 2-1 in what was then named Division two.
Middlesbrough XI: Dimi, Roberts, Fry, Gibson, Fabio, Clayton, Baker, Forshaw, Fletcher, Gestede, Traore
Scunthorpe United XI: Gilks, Sutton, McArdle, Wallace, Townsend, Adelakun, Ojo, Bishop, Morris, Hopper, Madden
Middlesbrough: L W W L
Scunthorpe United: D W D W
While Scunthorpe are undefeated in League One this season it’s hard to see anything but a Middlesbrough win from this game. Scunthorpe also have several key players missing such as ex-Boro player Luke Williams.
Middlesbrough, on the other hand, have a squad full of players like Adama Traore and Ashley Fletcher who will be eager to go out and prove themselves. Boro are also solid at home this season having won two out of two without conceding.
Therefore, as much the cup can be magic, except a Boro win from this one.
Final score prediction: 3-0 Middlesbrough
Scunthorpe United: 11/2