Notts County travel to Sky Bet Championship side Middlesbrough in the first round of the Carabao Cup tonight.
After a last-gasp defeat in Cambridge on Saturday, Kevin Nolan’s side will be looking to bounce back and put on a good display against one of the best outfits in the Championship.
Middlesbrough currently occupy top spot in the second tier after two wins and a draw from their opening three fixtures of the 2018-19 campaign and are yet to concede a goal at the Riverside Stadium.
Away from the pressure of league action, Notts will look to use the underdog role to their advantage and cause an upset.
Like Nolan’s side, Middlesbrough are touted as likely promotion candidates this season, so it will be a tough test but one the gaffer is relishing.
Kevin Nolan says...
“Hopefully we go out there and give a good account of ourselves and then after the game I’m looking forward to picking Tony Pulis’ brains.
“I’m interested in seeing what he does and how he does it, which will help me to develop as a manager and a person.
“No matter who Tony sends out they’ll have a really good side. They look like a team who will be up there at the end of the season.”
Read more from the manager here.
Nolan has confirmed that summer signing Andy Kellett will make his full debut as he works his way back to full fitness.
That will be one of several changes as he looks to get more competitive minutes in the tank for some members of the squad as well as sampling other styles of play.
Ben Hall will again miss out with a groin injury and Kristian Dennis is going to have to continue his wait for a first Notts’ start.
Pulis is also set to ring the changes as his side play their fourth game since 4 August.
He is looking to give youth a chance in the tie, saying the younger players will be given a chance to show what they can do.
Marcus Tavernier and Harry Chapman are in line for a start, while Paddy McNair could make his full debut.
Paddy McNair is a summer signing from Boro's north-east rivals Sunderland
Knockout-stage ties will now go straight to penalties, with ABBA scrapped in favour of the more traditional ABAB system should spotkicks be required.
We’ve met before
The League Cup was the stage for the last meeting between the two sides as well and Notts caused an upset with a 1-0 win at the Riverside.
League Two Notts made the trip to then-Premier League Middlesbrough in round two of the 2006 competition and progressed thanks to a first-half goal from Tcham N'Toya-Zoa in front of a crowd of over 11,000.
That ended a run of three straight defeats to Boro – all in the FA Cup – with the last league meeting coming in 1995 where the sides played out a 1-1 draw at Meadow Lane.
What are the odds?
Sky Bet have priced Notts 6/1 to pick up their first win of the season, while the hosts are priced 4/9. The game to end level after 90 minutes is 7/2.
Notts to qualify by any method is 3/1 and to win on penalties is 8/1 – with no extra time being played in the competition.
A repeat of the 1-0 scoreline of 2006 is 20/1, while Middlesbrough to win by the same scoreline is 13/2.
You can bet on the game here.
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