Pellegrini to field strong line-up

And Pellegrini believes his team will need to be on top of their game to progress against a side who sit second in the Championship, one point behind leaders Bournemouth.

Pellegrini told the club’s official website: ???Of course there are always opportunities for players to impress and stake a claim for a place, but we are playing on Saturday and not in midweek.

???We will have a full week to recover before we play Chelsea so, with that in mind, I will try and put out the strongest team I can.

???Middlesbrough are well organised and don’t concede many goals so, unless we play with 100 per cent intensity and concentration, we will find it difficult to progress into the next round.

“I expect a tough game because Middlesbrough are doing very well in the Championship. I know their manager Aitor Karanka very well and he is doing an excellent job.

“Middlesbrough may not be a Premier League team but they are fighting to win promotion and this will be a very difficult match. We need to be at our best to win.

“We are not in the Capital One Cup any more and we want to do well in this competition, because it was disappointing to lose in the quarter-final last season.”

City only arrived back from Abu Dhabi on Friday but Pellegrini is adamant the travelling will not have a negative impact on their performance.

“We are not worried about the travelling element,??? he said, ahead of the journey back. “There is only a few hours difference between and we will return to the CFA (City Football Academy) on Friday and prepare for the game as normal.

“It was the right time to have a break and we’ve enjoyed our stay in Abu Dhabi.??It was important to have this time, so we can return refreshed.”

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