According to Inside Futbol, Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has said that he will make changes ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit to The Riverside in the League Cup on Wednesday.
The Welshman is facing his former employers, and while it would obviously be nice to win for all of those involved with The Boro, he is making it clear that his priorities lie with the Championship ahead of this fixture.
Pulis’ men sit in third place in the league, but have only won one of their last five fixtures. They are not in the greatest form, and another slip up against Stoke at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday could see Middlesbrough slip out of the top six depending on other results.
The Championship is so fiercely competitive this season, with very few points separating the top ten teams. While the League Cup would be a nice bonus to The Boro, it is more likely to be a distraction. With the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal still in the draw at the time of writing, it is very unlikely that Middlesbrough would win the cup. It would only act as not only a distraction, but something that will fatigue players.
However, this may also be an indication that the manager is content with the strength in depth with his team. Palace aren’t exactly flying high in the Premier League at the moment, and Pulis may feel that his team can turn The Eagles over despite being slightly depleted.
Nonetheless, his priority is, and should be, winning against his former club Stoke at the weekend.