AITOR KARANKA admits tonight’s cup encounter with Preston North End cannot come fast enough for him and his chastened Middlesbrough side.
The Basque cut a furious figure following Boro’s insipid 3-2 weekend loss to Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship and he is grateful for small mercies in that his side have an instant chance to get back in the supporters’ good books tonight.
Karanka labelled the showing against the Owls as the worst since he arrived at the club last November and, speaking after the game, said that he wished his side could kick off there and then for their next outing.
Both Karanka and captain Grant Leadbitter were in no mood to dress up a late comeback against the Owls, with actions and not words what both are seeking against Simon Grayson’s Lilywhites.
Karanka said: “The Capital One Cup is a historic competition for the club and we will put out the best 11 to win the game.
“Everything was a surprise and different for me (on Saturday).
“I would have liked to play against Preston (straight away) because the best thing for everyone when you have lost is to play the following game.”
Leadbitter added: “It will be a tough game as Preston are doing well and have a good manager and a couple of good players.
“It will be a big game for them and we must match them across the park.”
Last six games: Middlesbrough WWWLWL, Preston LDWWDW.
Referee: M Haywood (West Yorkshire).
Last time: Middlesbrough 1 Preston 1; January 22, 2011; Championship.