Middlesbrough v Hull City: Boro boss Aitor Karanka's thoughts on January transfer window
Relegation is not a concern to Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka and, as a result, he will not be investing heavily in the January transfer window.
Boro are just a point above the drop zone after 13 games, and, with so many teams grouped together in the bottom half of the league, the probability is that Boro will be involved in some sort of fight for survival.
But Karanka isn’t uneasy and certainly isn’t plotting plans to improve his squad next month.
Equally, Boro recruited 12 players in the summer, many of whom are not first-team regulars. The same applies to members of the promotion-winning squad.
“Today, I can’t say I’m missing one position as I’m proud of everybody,” said the Spaniard, who has overseen an upturn in results in the past month.
“The last thing I have in my head is January.
“The players on the bench are showing a great attitude, and so are the players left at home.
“They’re training well to make my decisions difficult.”
Monday’s vital game against third-bottom Hull City at the Riverside comes on the back of last weekend’s agonising 2-2 draw at Leicester, when the Teessiders were seconds from three points before being denied by a second spot-kick for the champions.
Karanka, though, isn’t getting anxious with performances. “My frustration is how much it takes for us to add points,” he added.
“If you look at the table, we have 12 points, but we should have won against Stoke, Arsenal and Watford.
“We should have at least drawn against Crystal Palace, so we could have got 18 or 20 points. That’s one side of my frustration, but the other side is that one day we will start to win the games and get more confident.
“Also, nobody expected anything against Man City or Arsenal or Leicester and we got three points.
“We expected something from Watford or Crystal Palace but we didn’t win, so I prefer to keep confident as the performances over the last month and a half have been really good.
“This season, we have to keep going. For sure we will lose games and win, but working in this way I’m confident.”
Hull’s EFL Cup shoot-out hero Eldin Jakupovic could find himself back on bench duty on Monday, with David Marshall set to return.
“I have two fit goalkeepers who are outstanding at the moment and one in the wings who is recovering (Allan McGregor), so we’re fortunate in that department,” said boss Mike Phelan. “Maybe, with the goals we’ve conceded, I might play both of them!”
Dieumerci Mbokani’ is suspeNded after a straight red card in Tuesday’s cup clash with Newcastle. Phelan added: “Out of the whole evening that was the biggest disappointment really, to lose a player. We didn’t expect that.”
Phelan, who has no new injury worries, did not rule out a return for Abel Hernandez but said he would not rush the Uruguayan.