Blackpool v Middlesbrough: Pitch will not surface as excuse if Boro fail

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka, left, has refuted Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini's accusations about Boro playing defensively (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire).
Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka, left, has refuted Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini's accusations about Boro playing defensively (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire).
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AITOR KARANKA acknowledges that Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road surface will be far from ideal tonight, but he will not be using it as an excuse should his Middlesbrough side slip up.

The high-flying Teessiders are favourites heading into tonight’s encounter at rock-bottom Pool, but the alarming state of the Blackpool pitch is a potential leveller.

While Boro head coach Karanka knows all about the poor condition of the surface, he is equally aware of the adage that it will be the same for both sides.

Karanka, who welcomes back Daniel Ayala on a night when the top two of Bournemouth and Derby lock horns and third-placed Boro are seeking to cash in, said: “Everyone thinks it will be easy because Blackpool are bottom of the table, but it will be difficult as the pitch is not good.

“But I don’t want to say afterwards that we’ve lost points or lost the game because of the pitch.

“I don’t like excuses and it will be a difficult game.”

Meanwhile, Karanka has hit back at Manuel Pellegrini’s suggestion that Boro adopted an overly-defensive mindset in their recent FA Cup win over Manchester City.

He said: “I can’t go to Manchester City and play face-to-face against them because they are the sixth richest team in the world and we are a Championship team.”

Last six games: Blackpool LWLLWL, Middlesbrough DWWWWW.

Referee: C Kavanagh (Manchester).

Last time: Blackpool 0 Middlesbrough 2; January 11, 2014; Championship.