Wigan v Middlesbrough: Karanka relaxed over key duo’s contract talks

THE clock may be ticking regarding the future of two integral parts of Middlesbrough’s rise up the Championship, but Aitor Karanka remains relaxed.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka.

The two players in question being captain, midfield talisman and leading goalscorer Grant Leadbitter and goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos, who has provided the answer to Boro’s problematic issue between the posts, which reared its head at the start of the season.

Both see their deals expire in the summer, with Leadbitter, who has seen initial contract talks with the Boro hierarchy stall, free to talk to other clubs in January, which will represent some concern to many fans.

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But Karanka, whose side will be roared on by a travelling army of 5,000 at Wigan, is not unduly preturbed.

Karanka, conscious that Adam Reach and Albert Adomah penned new deals, said: “I am not worried.

“For me, the most important thing at the moment is that both of those players are playing very well for the team.

“They are not thinking about their contracts or their future, they are completely committed to the team. I am not worried about what might happen to them in January because I am happy with their focus.

“I want to think about the following game or the following week, not about January. Dimi and Grant are playing really well at the moment, and that is my only concern.”

Ever mindful, Karanka is conscious that Wigan will be eager to impress new manager Malky Mackay and is expecting a reaction from the hosts.

He said: “It’s going to be a difficult game because when one team changes the manager the first game the players are more motivated and they want to impress him.

“Everybody will want to play.”