Boro must not drift ahead, says Karanka

HEAD COACH Aitor Karanka believes Middlesbrough can kiss goodbye to their hopes of automatic promotion if they slip up to Wolves this evening.

Middlesbrough's head coach Aitor Karanka (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).

It is the first leg of a huge double-header for fourth-placed Boro, who visit Norwich City on Friday, aiming to keep pace with Bournemouth and the Canaries in the automatic promotion spots.

Karanka said: “If we start to think about the Norwich game now we are making a big mistake because if we lose (to Wolves), we are going to lose our chance to get promotion directly.

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“We have to win our games.

“I think by winning four games we will get promotion, but it is very difficult.

“We have to forget the other teams and just concentrate on our games.

“We will prepare to win each game, but you never know.

“At this stage of the season, every single point is important.”

Daniel Ayala and Ryan Fredericks are available after fitness scares, with the former recovering from a knock that forced him from the pitch during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Rotherham United.

Fredericks was forced to miss out on the game altogether, and has been on the sidelines since early March, but Karanka revealed he will be available for selection having come through training unscathed.

Grant Leadbitter serves the 
final game of a two-match suspension.

Last six games: Middlesbrough WWLWLW, Wolves DWWWWL.

Referee: N Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Last time: Middlesbrough 2 Wolves 0; December 15, 2012; Championship.