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Middlesbrough v Stoke City preview

11 Aug 2016
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Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic are expected to feature for Stoke City at promoted Middlesbrough after recovering from injuries, but Glen Johnson (quadriceps) is a doubt and goalkeeper Jack Butland is ruled out after jarring his ankle in training on Friday. 

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has reported that Dani Ayala, new signing Bernado Espinsosa and longstanding absentee Grant Leadbitter are the only players ruled out of Saturday’s match. Defender George Friend, meanwhile, has signed a new deal.

Full Boro team news | Stoke team news

Did you know?

Middlesbrough have won just four of their last 15 league meetings with Stoke City (W4 D3 L8).

Boro have earned victory in two of their 14 previous season openers in the Premier League, including a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in their last top-flight campaign (2008/09).

Stoke’s only previous opening-day win of a Premier League season came against Burnley in 2009.

Mark Hughes has lost just one of his last eight league meetings with Middlesbrough as manager, winning six and drawing once.

What the managers say

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka: "It's a special moment. Two and a half years we have been working every day to arrive to this moment."

For his full press conference, visit mfc.co.uk.

Speaking about new signing Joe Allen, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes said: "He's proved on the biggest stage that he can play at a very high level. He'll grow and become a really strong player."

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