Reading v Middlesbrough: Aitor Karanka impressed with Steve Clarke

Steve Clarke
Steve Clarke
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Aitor Karanka is not expecting his Middlesbrough side to simply turn up and continue their winning form against Reading tomorrow (kick off 3pm).

Boro, second in the Championship, travel to the Madejski Stadium to face the Royals who are five points and a place behind them.

The Riverside-outfit’s head coach admires the work that Steve Clarke has done since he took over the reins in Berkshire last December, and believes that both teams will occupy high positions in the table come the end of the season.

A win at the weekend could move Boro to the summit of the league and also give them a massive eight point cushion to third place.

But Karanka is cautious against any assumptions. “Last season, after Steve was appointed, the team improved a lot,” he said.

“They are much more organised now.

“This season they have new players who have brought quality to the squad.

“It’s going to be difficult because they are really organised and have good players, especially up front. They defend very well.”

Karanka can see Clarke’s team pushing for promotion this season also.

He continued: “I think they are going to be with us and another 10 teams because they are good.

“The team which is ninth is going to be fighting until the end and Reading is one of these teams.”

Confidence in the Boro squad is inevitably high, with seven wins in as many games.

History, however, has warned their Spanish manager to guard against complacency

“We have to be careful of confidence because sometimes we have made mistakes when we were over-confident,” he added.

“We know how difficult it is to win every single games but we have to try to keep winning games.”

One player who won’t be facing Reading is Yanic Wildschut, who has joined Wigan Athletic on a three-month loan deal.

The winger, who joined Boro from Dutch side Heerenveen last year, has struggled to make an impression on Teesside, two of his 15 games coming this season.

“We have had interest, not just in Yanic, but in other players an it was important that we looked for the right club,” added the Boro boss.