Michael Duff says tonight’s EFL Cup hosts Middlesbrough are a good example of how he eventually wants his Barnsley side to play.

The Reds visit Chris Wilder’s Championship Boro from 7.45pm in the first round.

Duff told the Chronicle: “They have a good manager. The way I have played in the last three or four years is very similar to how Chris plays in terms of the system and personnel within it, with a deep-lying midfielder and two eights who run on and centre forwards who run in behind.

“It’s almost best practice watching them and I can say ‘that’s what I want us to do’.

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“It will be good to pick Chris’ brain afterwards as well.

“They are a good Championship team. I imagine they will make a few changes but their squad’s not massive. They have a lot of quality throughout the squad.”

Duff is expected to alter his team from the League One win over Cheltenham on Saturday.

“There will be changes without completely changing the team. We’re going to a good team.

“It’s not fair if we make 11 changes, it’s not fair on the 11 who come in because it’s hard to throw an 11 together on one day’s notice.

“We have a tough run coming up now like everyone else. We need to manage people’s minutes and look after people in positions we are a bit light in.

“It’s a chance for players who have been doing well in training and deserve an opportunity.”

How will Duff treat the cup competitions this season?

“We just want to win the game. The team will change but it’s not me prioritising the league, it’s giving people opportunities.

“When I was a senior player and young lads didn’t want to play in cup games, I said: “it’s a game of professional football. Are you too good to play in it?’

“We want to put a marker down, even if we don’t win.”