Five-time FA Cup winners Manchester City will be determined to see off Middlesbrough in the fourth round and put their disappointing recent league loss to Arsenal behind them.
It must have come as a massive shock to the system to City and manager Manuel Pellegrini to lose out so comfortably to a surprisingly measured Arsenal display, a result that leaves them five points behind leaders Chelsea, who they face next in the Premier League.
They may have more than half an eye on that encounter as they come into this one, and while star striker Sergio Aguero could be rested, it also gives him a chance to boost his match fitness ahead of that showdown at Stamford Bridge. Whatever he decides, Pellegrini will not take this one for granted.
Middlesbrough are among the frontrunners to secure promotion from the Championship this season, and there is a buzz around the club this season, with supporters optimistic that their six-year absence from the Premier League can come to an end under the stewardship of Aitor Karanka.
The Spaniard, the former assistant to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, will make his team tough to break down with what has been the best defence in the Championship this season, while they also have an array of attacking options including Kike and Patrick Bamford. They took Liverpool all the way to penalties in the Capital One Cup in September.
Edin Dzeko could return to the Man City starting XI, but Frank Lampard is a doubt. Meanwhile, the Teeside club are without Damia Abella and Ryan Fredericks.
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