Exeter have a chance to reach the quarter-final of the EFL Cup for only the second time in their history if they can get past Middlesbrough at St James Park on Tuesday night.
It’s a tough ask for the Grecians against a Championship outfit, but Gary Caldwell’s side can take heart from their third-round effort which saw them dump out Premier League side Luton.
Boro’s seven-match winning run was snapped by Stoke on Saturday, but Michael Carrick’s men have a quick opportunity to get back on track.
Boro have recorded away wins at Huddersfield, Bolton and Bradford in the EFL Cup this season and they are 4/5 to seal a quarter-final place at the expense of Exeter. The Grecians knocked out Premier League Lutoh at home in the last round and they are 10/3 for victory in 90 minutes, while the draw is an 11/4 chance.
Both teams scored in Middlesbrough’s cup trips to Huddersfield and Bolton and that is a 4/6 shot to pay off against Exeter.
Pierce Sweeney is suspended and Exeter could also be without Jack Aitchison and Reece Cole, who picked up injuries in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Lincoln.
Tommy Smith, Lewis O’Brien, Darragh Lenihan, Riley McGree, Marcus Forss and Sonny Finch are all on the sidelines for Middlesbrough and boss Michael Carrick is expected to make more than just enforced changes.
Hayden Hackney has returned to the squad, cup keeper Tom Glover is expected to start and there could be recalls for Anfernee Dijksteel, Morgan Rogers, Sammy Silvera, Alex Gilbert and Emmanuel Latte.
Exeter to win in 90 minutes @ 10/3
League One side Exeter face a hike in class against Championship outfit Middlesbrough in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night, but Boro’s line-up may be much weaker than the one that is performing so well in the second-tier this season.
Carrick’s side were beaten 2-0 at Stoke on Tuesday, which ended a seven-game winning run and that has to be put down to Middlesbrough’s quite desperate injury situation.
Smith, O’Brien, Lenihan, McGree, Forss and Finch are all missing and the likes of Hackney and Dijksteel are only just returning from lengthy absences.
The Championship is without doubt Carrick’s focus this season and it would be no surprise if Middlesbrough fielded a youthful side at St James Park.
Exeter ended a six-game losing streak with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Lincoln on Saturday and they have been far more competitive than that winless record suggests.
The Grecians somehow managed to lose in their previous home League One contest against Wigan despite having 72 per cent possession, racking up 29 shots and forcing 17 corners.
Exeter are 10/3 to spring a surprise and that appears to underrate their chances of recording another cup upset.
Over 2.5 goals @ 8/11
Middlesbrough have seen over 2.5 goals land in four of their last five away matches and they in-form visitors have notched 16 goals across their last eight games.
Carrick’s entertaining style is likely to see Boro go on the front foot at St James Park, but with a raft of defensive absentees they could be more vulnerable at the back than is usually the case.
Taking over 2.5 goals looks like a sensible play on Tuesday.
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