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Match Preview: Middlesbrough vs Bolton Wanderers

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The whites (or black and golds) will be looking to bounce back in the League after Tuesday's disappointment in the Capital One Cup.

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Middlesbrough vs Bolton Wanderers

Riverside Stadium

Saturday 15th August

KO: 15:00

Bolton Wanderers travel to Middlesbrough (worst place to live in England) on Saturday with the hope of building on the promise they showed against Derby County, rather than the wasteful performance on Tuesday night.  Middlesbrough on the other hand, will be hoping to do better than last time out in the league when they drew 0-0 with Championship new-boys Preston North End.

Team News

Middlesbrough

Winger Mustapha Carayol will not be in contention after Boro manager Aitor Karanka admitted that he'd be leaving on loan. He joins ex-Wanderer Alex Baptiste (leg), Rhys Williams (achilles) and Abella Damia (knee) on the sidelines. The match may also come too soon for new signing David Nugent who is unfit.

Bolton Wanderers

Tim Ream's move to QPR leaves Dean Moxey as our only recognised left-back. Darren Pratley will definitely miss the game after picking up ankle ligament damage against Derby County, but Jay Spearing will be back in contention after serving his one-match suspension mid-week. Prince (groin), Dorian Dervite (nose) and Liam Trotter (hamstring) are all minor doubts and will be assessed before kick-off. The game will also probably come too soon for long-term absentees David Wheater (hamstring) and Max Clayton (knee).

Form

Middlesbrough: DW(cup match)

Bolton Wanderers: DL(cup match)

Stats

Middlesbrough

Top Scorer: Christian Stuani - 2 (both in Capital One Cup)

Most bookings: Enrique Garcia - 1

Bolton Wanderers

Top Scorer: N/A

Most bookings: Jay Spearing - 2

Match odds

Middlesbrough: 4/7

Draw: 14/5

Bolton Wanderers: 5/1

One to Watch

Stewart Downing: Probably the obvious choice despite an underwhelming debut against Preston North End. Downing should be an absolutely excellent player at this level. He showed the quality he still possesses in the first half of last season when Big Sam played him at the tip of a midfield diamond and if Boro give him this sort of freedom then he will terrorise Championship defences.

What's Been Said

Aitor Karanka

"When we play with our attitude and style we can beat everyone. We have Bolton on Saturday so we have to play with the same attitude and the same intensity that we played with today [against Oldham Athletic]."

Neil Lennon

"They're a class side; they've got some really good players, obviously they kept the crux of the squad from last season. They lost a couple of good players in Bamford and Tomlim but they've had Downing coming in and they're looking at another striker. They've got two very good midfield players in Leadbitter and Clayton and they kept a clean sheet, they're very good defensively so we're under no illusions to how difficult the game's going to be."

Prediction

Before the season had begun, I predicted a 3-1 defeat. But after our encouraging display against Derby County, I think it will be a much closer game. I still think we'll lose mind, due to our away form last season. 2-1 Middlesbrough.