Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough Preview: Cherries and Boro hoping to escape league struggles in Carabao Cup

Bournemouth host Middlesbrough in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday with the chance to escape their league troubles on offer.

Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough Preview: Cherries and Boro hoping to escape league struggles in Carabao Cup
The Cherries halted a four game winless run at the bet365 Stadium last time out. (Photo: Alex Morton / Getty Images)

Premier League side Bournemouth host Championship outfit Middlesbrough in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night with both sides looking to find solace in the cup after struggling in their respective leagues recently.

The Cherries sit second-bottom in the top-flight despite winning at Stoke City last time out, whilst promotion favourites Boro have dropped to 13th in the Championship as their solid start has ground to a halt.

Cherries hoping a cup run can catalyse subpar Premier League form

Eddie Howe's side have not got off to the ideal start in their third season in the Premier League, winning just twice in their opening nine games with only Crystal Palace below them in the league table.

The Cherries saw an improved performance at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they beat Stoke City 2-1 thanks to goals from Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas, although the win wasn't enough to lift them out of the bottom three.

They overcame Birmingham City and Brighton to reach this stage of the Carabao Cup, winning 2-1 at St. Andrews despite going a goal down early on, while they defeated the Seagulls for the second time in the space of five days in September to win 1-0 after extra-time thanks to Josh King's 99th minute strike.

Howe has spoken of his desire to "go as far as we can" in the competition, stressing that the cup "is not a distraction" for his side.

 

Boro enduring tough times back in the Championship

Garry Monk's promising start to life on Teesside has eroded somewhat in recent weeks as Boro have now gone five games without a win, leaving them stranded in mid-table.

They lost just twice in their opening 11 matches in all competitions, including Carabao Cup wins against Scunthorpe and Aston Villa, but since then have struggled to keep clean sheets with seven goals conceded in their last five league games.

The Boro boss admitted that his side are in the midst of "a frustrating period" following their home defeat at the hands of Cardiff City last time out, although advancing to the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup could give his squad the boost they need to correct their league form.

Summer signing Britt Assombalonga is the club's top-scorer with six goals this season, while Patrick Bamford netted a brace at Villa Park in the last round of the competition.

Team news

The Cherries are without Jermain Defoe, Tyrone Mings, and Brad Smith for the cup tie due to injury while forward King could return to the squad after missing out at the weekend due to illness.

Both Ryan Shotton and Marvin Johnson are cup-tied for the visitors and will play no part in Tuesday's game, while Rudy Gestede - who has not played for Boro since August - is unlikely to be involved due to a thigh injury.

Predicted line-ups

Bournemouth (4-4-1-1): Boruc; Smith, Cook, Francis, Daniels; Pugh, Gosling, Arter, Fraser; Mousset; Afobe.

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Konstantopoulos; Friend, Gibson, Fry, Roberts; Downing, Clayton, Leadbitter, Braithwaite; Bamford, Assombalonga.