DIMI Konstantopoulos could be set for a Middlesbrough recall tonight against Preston North End (kick off 7.45pm).
Boro welcome League One Preston to the Riverside in the Capital One Cup second round, both sides having progressed from their first round matches against Oldham and Rochdale respectively with little bother.
But Boro boss Aitor Karanka currently has plenty of bother.
Tonight’s cup tie comes three days after Saturday’s lacklustre performance against Sheffield Wednesday, a display which a brutally-honest Karanka labelled “the worst since I have been manager”.
The Spanish boss has come under criticism for playing Tomas Mejias in goal instead of the former Hartlepool United promotion hero Konstantopoulos.
Mejias was at fault for Leeds’ winner three games ago and looked uncertain at times against the Owls.
The ex-Real Madrid reserve team stopper was to blame for Wednesday’s opener on Saturday.
Karanka defended Mejias but is expected to give Konstantopoulos a chance tonight at the Riverside,
“Tomas Mejias is strong enough for the Championship, he’s good enough for the Championship and he’s good enough for Middlesbrough,” Karanka said after Saturday’s defeat.
However, he is not going to berate a player he signed earlier this year or publicly single out an individual player.
But the odds are Konstantopoulos will play this evening.
The Greek giant started in the first round victory at Oldham and a good performance tonight could see him rewarded with an extended run in the team.
Adam Reach will start on the wing for Boro, while Adam Clayton is pushing for a start of his own.
Jonathan Woodgate and Ben Gibson (both hamstring) will miss out, which mean Daniel Ayala and Kenneth Omeruo will continue in central defence.