THE numbers may appear to stack up in Middlesbrough’s direction ahead of this afternoon’s game at Hillsborough, but Aitor Karanka is decidedly wary.
The Boro head coach has presided over eight victories in the Teessiders’ 16 away league matches so far this season, with their goals against tally of 12 being the best in the Championship.
Sheffield Wednesday, by contrast, have struggled for goals on home soil, with their haul of eight the lowest number in the division.
The Owls have also claimed just three home wins at S6 in the Championship this season, only Wigan have won fewer with Millwall having also triumphed in just three home matches like Wednesday.
But Karanka, whose Boro side will be roared on by a travelling contingent of 4,500 fans this afternoon, believes that Wednesday – unbeaten in four against the Teessiders and chasing their fifth home win against them in their last six outings – will be a tough nut to crack.
Karanka, mindful of how Boro were second-best in a 3-2 reverse to the Owls at the Riverside Stadium, with the narrow margin of victory doing Stuart Gray’s side a disservice, said: “It will be very difficult because they don’t concede a lot of goals.
“They don’t score many either, but they are an organised team with a good manager. They beat us here and were winning 3-0.
“That was a difficult game for us and I’m expecting another tough game.
“I don’t remember now, but I know our last game against Bolton wasn’t great, but the difference is we won the game and against Sheffield we lost.”