Opposition watch: Middlesbrough

The low-down on Saturday's opponents from the North East

It is the dawn of a new era on Teesside as Middlesbrough unveil new boss Aitor Karanka to the Riverside faithful for the first time this weekend. 

With a large crowd expected to meet Jose Mourinho’s former assistant at Real Madrid, the 2006 UEFA Cup finalists will be hoping Karanka can help revive their season and mount a serious challenge at the right end of the league table.

Now in their fifth season in the second tier of English football, Boro are looking to turn the corner after a slow start to the current campaign, winning just three league games so far.

Under the previous regime, Middlesbrough slipped away from the promotion pack towards the end of last season despite an impressive start which saw the club near the top end of the Championship table until Christmas. 

Karanka has been left with an experienced squad at his disposal with the likes of former England international Jonathan Woodgate, tricky winger Albert Adomah and ex Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter. 

The former Spanish international took charge of his first game last weekend as Boro suffered a 2-1 defeat at Leeds United.

Goalkeeper Jason Steele received his marching orders for Boro at Elland Road for a foul on Dexter Blackstock and will consequently miss this weekend’s game at the Riverside. 

A win for Boro this weekend will see them draw level on points with Bolton in the league standings, but Karanka will be aware that Dougie Freedman’s men have won their last three games on the road. 

Middlesbrough team which faced Leeds: Steele, Richardson, Woodgate, Ayala, Friend, Adomah, Leadbitter, Smallwood, Carayol, Kamara, Emnes

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