AITOR Karanka has called on unity between the fans and players if Middlesbrough are to have a successful season.
The Spanish boss believes the Riverside faithful can have an integral part in the club achieving its aims.
The Championship season begins at home to Lee Clark’a Birmingham City tomorrow (3pm), and Karanka wants his team to excite the opening-day crowd.
“It’s good for us to start at home because we have to show the fans from the very first second that we want to do well this season,” he said.
“It’s going to be a difficult season, I know that.
“We are going to have difficult moments, but we have to be together as much as we can.
“I know how excited the fans are (for the season to begin) and we are too.”
Boro finished last season on a high, winning six of their last eight games, boosting optimism going into the new campaign.
Karanka, though, is already well-versed in the unpredictable nature of the Championship.
He added: “We finished last season in a good way but football, the Championship, you never know.
“The best thing would be to win the first three games (Birmingham, Oldham in the League Cup and Leeds).
“We have to work in the same way at all times and not become complacent when we win one game and not become upset when we lose one game.”
The Blues only escaped relegation to League One on the last day of the season – a scare that is sure to spur them on.
“They will use that experience and will want to do things better and arrive at the end of the season with an improvement from last season,” Karanka said.
“They felt last season how hard it is to stay in the Championship.
“I am expecting a difficult game.”
Boro are not expected to sing any more players in time for the season opener, but the £1.5million move for Adam Clayton appears to have hit an obstacle – despite agreements all but finalised.
It is thought that Huddersfield want an immediate replacement for the loss of the 25-year-old and, with Boro’s Jacob Butterfield reportedly not wanting to join the Terriers, the Yorkshire club have temporarily halted the Clayton transfer.
Osasuna right-back Damie Abella, a La Liga winner in 2004 with Barcelona, is set to move to Teesside in the coming days.