Middlesbrough v Preston: Boro look to Lita to sink strugglers

Middlesbrough aim to extend their unbeaten run to five games when they host the Championship's bottom club Preston.

Boro chief Tony Mowbray is likely to turn to Seb Hines to replace David Wheater – who joined Bolton this week – in the centre of defence alongside Matthew Bates.

Mowbray also has injury problems. Joe Bennett should be fit to play, but Justin Hoyte and Kevin Thomson are both definitely out. Stephen McManus, Luke Williams and Mickael Tavares are also out.

Boro striker Leroy Lita is out to extend his scoring run after netting four goals in his last four league games.

Preston will be without Adam Linganzi, the on-loan Blackburn midfielder, who picked up a groin injury during his debut against Leicester last week.

The Lancastrians will be looking for a turn of fortunes under new manager Phil Brown, who has not presided over an away win for almost two years, dating back to his days in charge of Hull City.