Middlesbrough play against Newport County in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday and will be the favourites to overcome their League Two opponents.

Boro have a good record against sides from a lower division, having progressed from 22 of their last 24 FA Cup ties where they have face opponents from further down the Football League, as reported by BBC Sport. 

However, Middlesbrough will now be prioritising getting a place in the Championship promotion playoffs this season.

As a result, Michael Flynn’s Newport side can go all out to claim a shock win from this game as Boro boss Tony Pulis shuffles his side in order to preserve them for second-tier action.

Middlesbrough have also been hit by the flu this week and several players missed training during the buildup to the game against Newport, as reported by Sky Sports.

This indicates that Pulis’ side will probably not be at their best for this game and it is also something which The Exiles can aim to exploit.

Former Chelsea star John Obi Mikel joined Middlesbrough this week on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

The Nigeria international was last on the books of Chinese club Tianjin Teda but cancelled his contract by mutual consent.

The 31-year-old Mikel will bring in a lot of experience to the Middlesbrough side, but he is unlikely to make his competitive debut for the north east outfit on Saturday.

Boro defender Ryan Shotton could be in line to make a return to action after six games after suffering a knee injury, as reported by BBC Sport. 

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