Tottenham v Middlesbrough: Mourinho could feel Kane's absence again
Spurs and Middlesbrough lock horns again in the FA Cup and Dave Tindall is here to guide you through Tuesday night's third-round replay...
Tottenham v Middlesbrough Tuesday, 20:05 Live on BBC One
Jose will want silverware
While supporters of some Premier League clubs are used to watching their team approach banana skins and end up on the floor, Spurs fans are not amongst them. At least when it comes to this competition.
Tottenham are unbeaten in each of their last 40 FA Cup home matches against teams from a lower division since a 0-1 loss to Nottingham Forest in January 1975. That comprises 33 wins and seven draws.
An early FA Cup exit looked possible in the original tie at the Riverside Stadium but Lucas Moura's equaliser just after the hour mark eased Tottenham nerves and now they are huge favourites to go through.
This is a tournament that Jose Mourinho takes seriously and that was shown by his starting XI in the original match which was basically full strength bar the loss of the injured Harry Kane.
Kane's absence was felt again in the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend and Spurs are now going through another difficult patch with three defeats, two draws and just a single win in their last six games.
Improved fortunes for Boro
After a difficult start for new boss Jonathan Woodgate, Middlesbrough are on the up.
Since losing 3-1 at Swansea when they were reduced to nine men and ended the weekend in 20th spot, just three points clear of the drop zone, Woodgate's men are one of the form teams in the division.
They conceded just once in a four-match winning run against Stoke (h), Huddersfield (h), West Brom (a) and Preston (a) and were within a whisker of making it five on the spin before conceding a last-minute equaliser to Derby at the weekend.
And the renewed confidence which has taken them 10 points clear of third-bottom Barnsley was shown in Woodgate's reaction to the draw against Tottenham in the original tie.
"I'm really pleased," he said. "They gave everything they had. We were against a side who reached the Champions League final and have an unbelievable manager. So for us to go toe to toe with them, which we did at times... I'm disappointed to come out 1-1."
Spurs look vulnerable
The lack of Kane and an obvious stand-in is clearly troubling Mourinho.
After the 1-1 draw at the Riverside, he said: "When we were losing 1-0 without strikers or the power to play inside their defensive line with lots of bodies and great soul, at that moment I had the feeling of 'we are in trouble'."
Tottenham are just 1.27 to win in 90 minutes while Middlesbrough are 14.50 and The Draw6.60.
Kudos must certainly be given to Boro in their last two away games. They've become the only team to register a win at leaders West Brom while a victory at Preston was impressive too given that no Championship side has won more games at home than the Lancashire side.
They kept a clean sheet in both so, although it's a big step up, a Tottenham without Keane won't find it easy.
I'm not sure if Woodgate's men can pull off a big shock and, if pushed, I can see Spurs somehow doing enough, even if it's winning on penalties. But I fancy Middlesbrough to be competitive.
Therefore, I'll have a small wager on The Draw at 6.60 and also back Middlesbrough (+2) at 10/11 (Sportsbook). A single goal defeat is certainly a viable option right now given Spurs' struggles and Boro's revival.
Unders looks value
The 1-1 draw in the original tie and other recent results suggest Unders is be a play here at the clear underdog price of 2.32.
Unders has landed in four of Boro's last five games and in each of Tottenham's last three. Add in Kane's absence and we have a bet.
Overs is just 1.65 but those shutouts by Boro at West Brom and Preston - the two highest home scorers in the Championship - are worth taking note of.
All things considered, I'd make Under 2.5 goals the best bet on offer.
Fletcher looks interesting scorer option
Tottenham's obvious names are predictably short so those wanting something a little more ambitious should look to Middlesbrough's Ashley Fletcher.
The striker puts Boro in front in the first meeting and that made it four goals in five games for the 24-year-old.
Fletcher scored in both those away wins at West Brom and Preston and he reflects the renewed confidence running through Woodgate's team.
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine home games against Middlesbrough in all competitions (W6 D3), but did lose a penalty shootout in this run in December 2003 in the League Cup quarter-final.