Middlesbrough vs Sheffield Wednesday Preview: Boro and the Owls put the league on hold for third-round tie

Middlesbrough vs Sheffield Wednesday Preview: Boro and the Owls put the league on hold for third-round tie

Aitor Karanka's side did the double over Wednesday when both sides were in the Championship last season.

Joe Nicholson

Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday will place their respective league aspirations on hold when they face each other in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow.

For Boro this season is all about survival and consolidating a position in the Premier League after seven years outside the top flight.

Meanwhile, Wednesday are battling to secure a top six finish in the Championship after they were beaten in the play-off final last campaign.

The two managers would be forgiven for making changes to their respective sides ahead of the game at the Riverside after a busy Christmas schedule, however both Aitor Karanka and Carlos Carvalhal have vowed to take the competition seriously.

Team news

Karanka confirmed that full back Antonio Barragan and winger Viktor Fischer will both miss the game though injury.

The Boro boss also confirmed that Gaston Ramirez, Fabio and Grant Leadbitter will have to be assessed after all three missed training on Friday.

New signing Rudy Gestede could make his debut, however Karanka admitted that it’s unlikely the striker will start the game.

Wednesday midfielder Kieran Lee will miss the rest of the season following a hip surgery.

Almen Abdi could return after missing the Owls’ last two matches, however the game is likely to come too soon for striker Gary Hooper.


Boro did the double over the Owls last season when both sides were in the Championship.

Karanka’s side earned a valuable win at Hillsborough early in the campaign when goals from Adam Reach- who has since joined the Owls from Boro-, Diego Fabbrini and Christian Stuani secured a 3-1 win.

The last time the two sides met at the Riverside was in December 2015, when Stuani netted the only goal of the game with just two minutes on the clock.

After the game Carvalhal bemoaned the fact that his side were forced to play two games in the space of three days, while Boro had not played for over a week after their Boxing Day fixture against Blackburn was postponed.

What the managers say:

Karanka believes that Boro are “in a really good position," after 20 games in the Premier League.

The Boro boss told the Gazette: "If somebody had offered this position at the start of the season, everyone would have accepted that."

On Sheffield Wednesday, Karanka said: "They have players to play really well away and at home. They caused us problems last year and they will this year as well." 

Despite conceding that his side are the underdogs, Carvalhal insisted that Wednesday will have a go at the Riverside.

“We will be with a good support but they are the favourites, they are playing at home,” he said.

“We will play our football, I’m telling people all the time we are Sheffield Wednesday and we go to all the stadiums to try to win the games,” he added

“We will try to win the game, we will be fighting to go to the next step in the competition but at the same time we will not be taking any risks with players,” concluded Carvalhal.