RECENT history leans heavily in Middlesbrough’s favour ahead of tonight’s game with Brentford, but head coach Aitor Karanka is reading little into this.
Boro face a Bees side that they beat four times last term – including in both Championship play-off matches – putting seven goals without reply past the visitors in two one-sided matches at the Riverside Stadium.
But Karanka believes last season’s results count for nothing, with tonight’s visitors much-changed from last season and now under the command of Dutchman Marinus Dijkhuisen.
Karanka said: “Every single game is different,
“They have changed the manager and lost important players, but they are a good team.
“If we go thinking they are a bottom team, it will be a mistake.
“It is true they have lost important players, but they have a lot of good players and they are really organised and a dangerous team.”
“We have to prepare the same way we prepared for MK Dons or for any game.”
Meanwhile, Karanka will not take any risks with Ben Gibson’s long-term fitness.
The defender suffered a hamstring strain in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over MK Dons, with Fernando Amorebieta coming on to replace him.
Karanka added: “If he (Gibson) can play, that is fine. But if he can’t, I don’t want to take any risks, especially in September with a lot of games to play.”
Last six games: Middlesbrough WDLWWW, Brentford DLWLLD.
Referee: G Salisbury (Lancs).
Last time: Middlesbrough 3 Brentford 0; May 15, 2015; Championship play-offs.