Middlesbrough v Cardiff: Aitor Karanka confident Boro will end their lean run

MIDDLESBROUGH'S Riverside meeting with Cardiff City tonight might not carry as much significance as their meeting in March 2008, but it is not too far behind.

Boro, then in the Premier League, famously fluffed their lines in a wretched 2-0 televised FA Cup quarter-final home loss to second-tier side Cardiff, when the path had cleared to Wembley.

That defeat was widely seen as a watershed moment in the tenure of manager Gareth Southgate, with Boro relegated in the following campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Head coach Aitor Karanka will be looking to avoid another damaging loss to the Welsh club tonight.

Victory would not only end a deflating five-match winless streak, comfortably Boro’s longest sequence without a Championship win this term, but also provide a bit of payback.

Boro went down to a 1-0 loss in the Principality in the autumn, a defeat that prompted captain Grant Leadbitter to hold an impromptu get-together with his team-mates and their family members at his home.

It did the trick, with the Teesside club then embarking on a stirring run of form for the rest of the calendar year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Replication is now the mission facing Boro after their recent alarming dip, with staff and players heading into the game after a change of environment following a four-day warm-weather training camp in Marbella.

Adamant that he does not feel under any increased pressure, Karanka, whose side dropped down to third place at the weekend after Burnley’s win over Rotherham, said: “It’s a big challenge, but I’ve said always I wanted to have this pressure.

“It’s right that the last games we haven’t won, but against MK Dons we had a lot of chances and against Leeds, we had a lot of chances and the disallowed ‘goal’.

“If we keep playing like we played in the last two games, we will start winning. For that reason I am confident.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On Cardiff, who secured a 4-1 weekend home win over Brighton, Karanka added: “They are on a good run. They have a good squad, a good manager.

“It will be a tough game. We are five games without a win, but we have to forget everything and remember the way we played a few weeks ago.”

Last six games: Middlesbrough WLLDDD Cardiff WDWDDW.

Referee: T Kettle (Leicestershire).

Last time: Middlesbrough 2 Cardiff 1; January 20, 2015; Championship.