Hull v Boro: Karanka taking long-term view over Boro’s league position

AITOR KARANKA insists he is not motivated by the potential of rising to the top of the Championship table with victory at current leaders Hull City this afternoon.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka

It promises to be the division’s match of the day at the KC Stadium, with a 20,000 plus crowd expected. On plenty of occasions in their history, both Boro and Hull have locked horns in the Championship when they have been also-rans, but now both are firmly in the thick of the promotion race.

Hull, on an outstanding run of form, moved to the summit after their 2-0 midweek win at Brentford, with previous front-runners Brighton drawing at Sheffield Wednesday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Karanka is the first to acknowledge the Tigers’ credentials, but equally believes that holding first place only holds weight at the end of the season and not now.

It is perhaps a sensible stance, given the ever-changing order at the top of the Championship last season when the likes of Boro, Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich all had spells there.

He said: “I don’t want to be top of the table now, I want to be top of the table by the end of the season. But this game is really important as after Hull game we have two weeks to work here over the international break and we would like to go into it with three more points.”

As it stands, just one point separates leaders Hull from Derby County in fifth, with all the portents suggesting the race for automatic promotion will be as intense and compelling as 2014-15.

Karanka, for one, is keeping calm and pinning his hopes on his side’s experiences of 2015-16 will stand them in good stead.

He added: “We lost the game at Wolves last season, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest away as we didn’t have experience, but now we have more experience and better players, so we’re winning games and getting important points.”