Preston North End v Middlesbrough – Changes on Tony Pulis’s mind as he keeps one eye on Hull City test

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA
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AFTER back-to-back defeats at Elland Road and Bramall Lane inside five days last week, Preston North End are no doubt mighty glad to be nowhere near Yorkshire tonight.

Not that the Championship’s bottom club can escape the White Rose totally with Middlesbrough the visitors to Deepdale in the Carabao Cup third round.

IN THE FRAME: Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter. Picture: Mark Kerton/PA

IN THE FRAME: Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter. Picture: Mark Kerton/PA

Tony Pulis is set to make wholesale changes once again as the Boro manager makes the trip to Deepdale with one eye on his side’s weekend clash away at Hull City.

Ashley Fletcher and Grant Leadbitter are expected to come in along with Rudy Gestede, the French-born striker being in line for his first appearance of the season and only his second since February due to a knee injury.

Also expected to feature are youngsters Dael Fry, Lewis Wing, Marcus Tavernier and Stephen Walker, while 16-year-old Nathan Wood will also travel.

Alex Neil, in contrast to his Boro counterpart, plans to name an XI that will be much closer to his first-choice team as the Scot looks to bounce back from a 3-2 defeat at Sheffield United that came via a dramatic 87th-minute winner from David McGoldrick after North End had come from two goals down to level.

We need to find a solution and a winning habit, where we can play well and get what we deserve. On Saturday I don’t think that we got what we deserved.

Alex Neil

Neil said: “We need to find a solution and a winning habit, where we can play well and get what we deserve. On Saturday I don’t think that we got what we deserved.

“At two-each we did remarkably well to get ourselves back in that position.

“Against a really difficult team at home and I honestly felt – and I think everybody did – that we were going to go on and win the game and It was another kick in the teeth for us.”

Last six games: Preston North End LWDLLL Middlesbrough WWDWLD.

Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).

Last time: Preston North End 2 Middlesbrough 3; January 1, 2018; Championship.