Preston manager Alex Neil thinks the strength of the Middlesbrough squad will ensure his side face a tough test in the League Cup.
Tony Pulis could well ring the changes for tonight’s visit to Deepdale, with a push for promotion their priority.
It was a policy which the Teesside outfit adopted in the first two rounds against Notts County and Rochdale.
Neil himself changed the PNE side for the earlier rounds but might be of the mind to go for a touch of stability as he searches to find a winning formula.
“If you look at the squad, the type of player they could bring in if they choose to make changes include Jordan Hugill, Ashley Fletcher and Grant Leadbitter.
“Their second string is a proper first team in the Championship.
“It is going to be a tough game as some of their guys will have something to prove with not being in the team. But we also have a point to prove because we need to get a win.”
Middlesbrough, who drew 0-0 with Swansea on Saturday, could have former PNE keeper Andrew Lonergan in their squad – he played 233 games for his home-town club.
Lonergan joined Boro in August after ending his contract with Leeds.
He played in the first two rounds of the cup but Darren Randolph is their first-choice, backed up by Dimi Konstantopoulos.