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    Middlesbrough v Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Spurs look to continue unbeaten run without Harry Kane

    By Alex Easley
    Tottenham go to Middlesbrough this Saturday on the back of a 5-0 EFL Cup win over Gillingham.
    Middlesbrough will have both Cristhian Stuani and Jordan Rhodes available after injury for their Premier League visit of Tottenham at the Riverside stadium.

    Boro will hope that their historical home record against the visitors can will be an advantage on Saturday afternoon.

    They have only lost one in their last 11 home Premier League matches against Spurs, meanwhile the Lilywhites have won 22 of their last 24 league meetings with newly-promoted teams.

    The home side will be fresh after a midweek off following their EFL Cup elimination by Fulham last month, however Tottenham changed their entire line-up for their 5-0 romp over Gillingham.
    Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo hasn't scored since the opening day of the season.
    Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka spoke on his opposite number this weekend: "We did the licence course together and we have a really good relationship. But after the referee blows the whistle, we are not friends, for sure - just for 90 minutes."

    This means Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino should restore several key players to the starting XI as they look to at the very least consolidate third place in the league table.

    Pochettino said: "It's not only his responsibility now. It's a team responsibility and he needs to feel free to play and try to help the team. It's a big opportunity for him to show his real skill.

    "He needs to enjoy the game. He has nothing to show - he just needs to play football. Always with a striker, they need to feel confidence and feel the net."

    TEAM NEWS

    Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka will be pleased to have Stuani and Rhodes back after their respective injury absences.

    Uruguay international Stuani missed the 3-1 defeat at Everton with a groin problem, while Scotland counterpart Rhodes sat out with a knee injury, but both have returned to training and are available once again.

    The pair's return means Karanka has only full-back Fabio da Silva and midfielder Grant Leadbitter missing from his squad as he looks to end a run of two successive league defeats.

    Mauricio Pochettino will make a late decision on Moussa Dembele and Eric Dier ahead of the trip to Teeside.

    Dembele and Dier are both struggling with hamstring strains and may not be risked while Danny Rose will also be assessed as he nears recovery, also from a hamstring injury.

    With Kane out with an ankle problem, Vincent Janssen will be handed his second Premier League start up front.
    Vincent Janssen will continue in place of the injured Harry Kane.
    MATCH FACTS

    Head-to-head

    Middlesbrough's only defeat in the last 11 Premier League home games against Spurs came in April 2007.

    Boro have scored 37 Premier League goals against Tottenham, more than against any other side.

    However, Spurs have lost just once in the nine most recent competitive meetings, a 2-1 Premier League away defeat in August 2008 (W4, D3, L1).

    Middlesbrough

    Middlesbrough haven't gone three Premier League home games without a win from the start of a season since 2000-01, when they were winless in their first eight fixtures at the Riverside.

    This will be their 250th Premier League game at the Riverside Stadium (W98, D74, L77).

    They could register three consecutive league defeats for the first time in three and a half years.

    All five of Boro's Premier League goals this season have come before half time.

    Tottenham Hotspur

    Spurs have gone unbeaten in their opening five league games of a season for the first time in 12 years. The 2004-05 season was the only time they have remained unbeaten after six matches in the Premier League.

    A win on Saturday would represent the club's best start to a top-flight season for 51 years, matching their four wins and two draws after six matches in 1965-66.

    They have the division's best defensive record so far this season, keeping three clean sheets and only conceding two goals.

    Tottenham have fielded the youngest average starting XI in the division so far this season, aged 25 years and 208 days.

    Harry Kane has only missed four Premier League games since the start of 2014-15, with Spurs only managing one point and two goals without him.

    K.O. 3PM (UK) 24/09/2016 VENUE RIVERSIDE STADIUM
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    Item Reviewed: Middlesbrough v Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Spurs look to continue unbeaten run without Harry Kane Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Alex Easley
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