Middlesbrough v Luton: Michael Carrick on preparing for the unexpected against rival

IF THINGS had worked out differently, new Luton Town head coach Rob Edwards could have been sat in the home dug-out on Saturday afternoon and not the away one.

The former Watford chief was interviewed for the vacant Middlesbrough position alongside Michael Carrick last month.

Boro plumped for the latter and things are working out very nicely indeed so far.

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It will be Carrick's job to make sure that Edwards does not get off on the right footing in his first game in charge of the Hatters today - as he seeks to tick off a milestone of his own.

Michael Carrick. Picture: Martin Rickett/PAMichael Carrick. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA
Michael Carrick. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Namely, the first home win of his tenure at the Riverside Stadium, which has opened in very promising fashion.

Facing a new manager means that planning is not straightforward, although Carrick knows enough about Luton to realise his side are up against a very competitive, consistent and seasoned outfit at this level.

Carrick said: "It is that story when a new manager goes in. Rob has gone into a team who have been very tough to play against.

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"From what we have seen and looked at and speaking to the boys who have played against them in the past, they are a good, tough team who make you work for it. And we are ready for that.

"Of course, there's the element of what are they going to look like with a new manager and they have had a bit of time on the training ground to prepare, so we will have to be ready for whatever they throw at us on Saturday."

The game comes too soon for Marc Bola (knee) and Matt Clarke (back), but Riley McGree - who exited the World Cup stage at the last-16 stage with Australia last weekend - is available for selection, Carrick has confirmed.

The Adelaide-born player had a productive tournament and provided the assist for Mathew Leckie’s goal which clinched qualification against Denmark in the Socceroos’ final group game – which earned Graham Arnold’s side a shot against Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

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Carrick said: "I don't really see why they need that extra time off, to be honest.

"At some point, Riley will get some days off and a break because mentally, it does take a bit out of you on the way.

"But at the same point, if you are playing league and cup, you are playing a couple of times a week and it's not really a big drama.

"If anything, it helps you as you are in a good rhythm, I don't see any issues."