Middlesbrough 0 Ipswich 0: Boro remain in ‘amazing position’ claims Karanka as race hots up

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Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy was happy to give his mate and Brighton counterpart Chris Hughton a helping hand, after the Tractor Boys held Middlesbrough.

The Boro are level on points with both table-toppers Burnley and third-placed Brighton and, with just two games remaining, the promotion race remains too close to call.

Boro travel to Birmingham on Friday night before hosting Brighton on the final day of the season.

McCarthy said: “If I’ve done one person a favour it’s Chris Hughton, because he’s a mate and he’s such a wonderful guy.

“So Chris, that’s a point for you. I hope we’ve helped him get promoted.”

Middlesbrough chief Aitor Karanka insisted they remain extremely well-placed despite what proved a second-successive draw after being held to 1-1 by Burnley.

“We have to be positive. I said a month ago that we were in a good position, and I would say that we are in an amazing position now,” said Karanka.

“We have two games to go, one at home, and we are more mature now and have a better squad (than last season). We are going to be more rested than we were today. For that reason, I have to be positive and transmit a positive message.”

Karanka watched his players dominate for long periods but despite creating a number of chances, Middlesbrough were unable to make a breakthrough.

One-time Ipswich striker Jordan Rhodes shot too close to Bartosz Bialkowski after breaking clear in the first half, and drilled a second-half shot against the post, and substitute David Nugent also went close with a stoppage-time header that was saved.

Karanka said: “I don’t know how many chances we need to score a goal because the score today should have been three or four-nil.”

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Nsue, Ayala, Gibson, De Laet, Clayton, Leadbitter, Adomah, Ramirez (Nugent 82), Downing (Stuani 70), Rhodes. Unused substitutes: De Sart, Husband, Agazzi, Kalas, Forshaw.

Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Chambers, Digby, Smith, Knudsen (Foley 76), Bru (Douglas 85), Skuse, Hyam (Bishop 71), Feeney, McGoldrick, Sears. Unused substitutes: Gerken, Pitman, Pringle, Dozzell.

Referee: D Bond (Lancashire).

Man of the match: Albert Adomah.