AITOR KARANKA is likely to hand young Middlesbrough academy product Luke Williams a cherished chance to impress at the Amex Stadium today.
The Teessider, 20, who recently returned to the Riverside Stadium from a productive loan spell at Hartlepool, has struggled to make his next big statement after bursting onto the scene in December, 2009 – becoming the youngest player to appear for Boro in over a century, aged just 16 years and 200 days.
Aafter a brief but impressive cameo at Huddersfield in midweek, Williams is likely to get the nod today with head coach Karanka admitting he caught the eye in the 2-2 draw.
Karanka said: “Sometimes the players go on for five minutes thinking that ‘oh, it’s only five minutes, I can’t show the coach anything’, but Luke was on for five to seven minutes and in that time he showed me personality, he’s a young player with quality.
“We knew about that but he’s showed me that on the pitch in a game. Hopefully, he can keep working in this way because he has all the qualities to play here for a long time.
“I took a lot of positives from Tuesday night, we conceded goals but it was a good game for us. It was difficult for us to get something out of it but we got a point. They showed their character.”
With Boro facing a summer of financial retrenchment after announcing a £14m loss this week, turning to loan players and academy talents like Williams and defender Ben Gibson looks likely to be the way forward for the Tessiders, mindful of new Financial Fair Play regulations which only allow an £8m loss per season.
While some funds will be made available, Boro – whose chairman Steve Gibson puts in around £1m a month – are likely to seek in-house solutions from their much-heralded academy to help ease the financial burden.