AITOR KARANKA has urged his Middlesbrough side to match the high standards they set on the opening day of the season.
A 2-0 final score was scant reward for the dominance enjoyed by Boro, who were so in control that Birmingham City failed to manage one shot on target all afternoon.
With tonight bringing a potentially tricky Capital One Cup trip to League One Oldham Athletic, Karanka has called on his players to build on such an encouraging win.
He said: “You saw (against Birmingham) that we are a very good team. When we play like that, I am very proud as it is things we train on every day at the training ground.”
Ben Gibson will be absent from the squad tonight at Boundary Park after suffering a hamstring strain just half an hour into the season.
Kenneth Omeruo replaced Gibson and could start, though club captain Jonathan Woodgate is also in contention after missing the Birmingham game through injury.
Karanka may also make other changes with Saturday’s trip to Leeds United in mind, with Emilio Nsue pushing for a start for the club after coming off the bench.
Another summer signing, defender James Husband, is also in contention to make his competitive debut against an Oldham side expected to feature George Elokobi following his arrival from Wolves.
Last six games: Oldham Athletic WDWDDD, Middlesbrough WLLWWW.
Last time: Oldham Athletic 1 Middlesbrough 0; April 5, 1995; Division One.
Referee: J Adcock (Nottinghamshire).