Aitor Karanka convinced Middlesbrough will rediscover their scoring touch

Boss Aitor Karanka says it is high time his Middlesbrough side ended their ten-hour goal drought as they head to Sheffield Wednesday

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka is convinced the goals will come as Middlesbrough bid to end their 614-minute drought this afternoon.

The Teessiders have failed to score in each of their last six outings, with four of those games ending in goalless stalemates.

Yet as Boro head to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday, the Spaniard insists his side is doing everything right and their fortunes in front of goal will change.

Karanka said: “We have to play like we did in the last game (last weekend’s goalless draw at Leeds) but this time score. The message I told them after the game is if we play the way we did against Leeds and Blackpool the goals will arrive. We need to keep working and believe in our way.

“I am more confident this week because the way we played last weekend was good for me. If we play this way we will win the games.

“The players have worked very well in training and I hope this is the day we can score the first goal.”

While Boro have been firing blanks at one end of the field, they have at least been keeping clean sheets at the other with nine shutouts in their last 12 matches. There will be a change in goal this afternoon, however, with hugely experienced keeper Shay Given having returned to Aston Villa after completing his three-month loan spell. That leaves Karanka with four goalkeepers to choose from and he is giving away no clues as to who will take over from Given.

Jason Steele, who established himself as first choice at the start of the season, is fit again after three months out following ankle surgery. Dimi Konstantopoulos, Jayson Leutwiler and January loan signing Tomas Mejias are all available.

Karanka (pictured below) added: “I am not worried because it is better to have four keepers ready to play. They were training very well with Leo (Percovich, Boro’s goalkeeping coach) and I am very happy with all of them. There’s a very good atmosphere between them. It’s a problem for me to choose one from four very good options.

“It’s a very important position. The keeper who will play will have our confidence but he needs to play well.

“It’s tough because all of them are training very well, but I prefer to have these difficult decisions. I need to choose the best one for the team.”

Given was unavailable for the FA Cup third round tie against Hull City at the beginning of January and Konstantopoulos donned the gloves for that game.

Since then Real Madrid goalkeeper Mejias has joined the club and he is now part of the equation.

Boro go into the game on the back of a six-game winless streak in which they have failed to score and that run has seen them slip to 13th in the table. Wednesday have lost only two league games since Christmas, and are four points behind Boro in 15th place.

Centre-back Ben Gibson is available again for Boro after missing the Leeds game through suspension.

However, young striker Luke Williams is unlikely to play despite being recalled from his loan spell at Hartlepool. Karanka added: “Luke is a player whom I like and he played very well at Hartlepool, but he needs to improve with us. He has a big future and he needs to learn every day.”


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