BORO BOSS ON DEFENSIVE OVER GOALS DEARTH

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.

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AITOR KARANKA’S grasp of the English language may not be perfect yet, but he is forthright in his answers to one particular current line of questioning.

Namely, the goals issue, or lack of them, with his Middlesbrough side having failed to find the net in well over a month since Emmanuel Ledesma notching in the 1-0 victory over Charlton on January 18.

A whole ten-and-a-quarter hours – six full games – have passed since that strike, with Karanka having been bombarded with questions about the goals dearth, now officially the longest run Boro have gone without scoring.

Plenty are having their say, with pundit Steve Claridge quick to offer his own slant on last weekend’s Football League Show.

But Karanka is paying no heed, believing that if Boro carry on from where they left off in the second half of last week’s 0-0 draw with Leeds, the situation will soon be rectified.

Karanka, who confirmed winger Mustapha Carayol will be in his squad today after he was dropped because of a perceived attitude problem after the loss to Watford, said: “Who is Steve? Is he a coach? I don’t know him. I don’t watch the show.

“I work in my own way. We arrived three months ago, and we are working well.

“This week, we are more confident because the way we played against Leeds was good for me. If we play in that way again we will win games.”

Owls chief Stuart Gray, whose side are facing their third game in six days, admits he would gladly take a scruffy 1-0 today as the hosts seek to avoid a third successive home league reverse and fourth in all competitions.

Gray said: “Sometimes, you can get some satisfaction out of the performances. But it is about the results and I would rather play ugly on Saturday and win 1-0.

“We are four points adrift of them (Boro) and I keep saying look upwards.”

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric has revealed that anyone wanting to invest in Wednesday will have to pass a test set by himself.

In his message to club shareholders following the publication of the Owls’ latest accounts, he said: “I will not gamble with the long-term future of Sheffield Wednesday.

“This club has flirted with financial oblivion far too closely in recent seasons and anyone wishing to join me or replace me will need to pass my ‘fit and proper persons test’, which I believe will be at a far higher standard than some other club owners have applied in the past.”

The accounts show that the club’s operating loss in the year ending May 31, 2013, was £3.9m – down by £1m on 2012, and the reduction in the year before that was £1.9m.

Turnover in the first year back in the Championship was up by £4m to £14.9m.

Wages and salaries rose from £7.29m to £10.41m.

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