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Friend wants Middlesbrough triumph for the people

Middlesbrough defender George Friend says the whole of Teesside will have played its part if his club secure promotion to the Barclays Premier League with victory over Norwich in Monday's Wembley play-off final.

Friend has made a point of immersing himself in local life since arriving from Doncaster two years ago and insists the support across the town has been a crucial factor in the club's re-emergence under Aitor Karanka.

George Friend wants to win for the people of Teeside. Credit: PA

"When I joined everything indicated that this is a Premier League club and, having lived on Teesside, I know it would mean so much to everybody.

"It is a fantastic place to live, there are great people around here and it would mean everyone getting promoted - not just those people involved with the club."

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Middlesbrough boss sets points target

Karanka wants the 12 points. Credit: PA

Aitor Karanka has set a 12-point target to clinch promotion as the boss threw down the gauntlet to Middlesbrough.

Boro host Wolves on Tuesday aiming to keep pace with Bournemouth and Norwich in the automatic promotion spots.

Middlesbrough are fourth in the Sky Bet Championship but could go top with a win if the Cherries and Canaries lose against Reading and Leeds respectively.

They are two points behind Bournemouth and Karanka wants them to win their final four matches to seal a return to the Barclays Premier League.

"We have to win our games," Karanka told the Middlesbrough Gazette.

"I think by winning four games we will get promotion, but it is very difficult.

"We have to forget the other teams and just concentrate on our games. We will prepare to win each game but you never know.

"At this stage of the season every single point is important."

Middlesbrough to sign Fulham defender on loan

Fernando Amorebieta is set for Middlesbrough. Credit: PA

Fulham defender Fernando Amorebieta is set to join Middlesbrough on loan for the rest of the season.

A deal to take the former Athletic Bilbao man to the Riverside has been agreed and will be confirmed once he returns from international duty.

Amorebieta has previously worked with Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka, when the two were on the playing staff at San Mames in the mid-2000s.

James Husband will head the other way as part of the deal.

Sheffield Wednesday dent Middlesbrough promotion hopes

Will Keane, centre, got the second. Credit: PA

Atdhe Nuhiu bagged his fourth goal in three games against Middlesbrough to help Sheffield Wednesday to a 2-0 Sky Bet Championship victory at Hillsborough.

The Austrian striker, who scored twice at the Riverside earlier in the season and the winner in the home game against Boro last year, converted a 52nd-minute penalty to open the scoring.

On-loan Manchester United striker Will Keane headed in the second three minutes later to seal the points and inflict a second defeat in three games on Wednesday's high-flying opponents.

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Karanka: Blackpool lack respect for fans

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka has hit out at Blackpool for their state of their Bloomfield Road pitch.

The Basque saw his side win 2-1 at Blackpool on Tuesday night, but was highly critical of the playing surface, blaming it for two injuries.

Aitor Karanka was not happy. Credit: PA

“It’s unbelievable, the pitch wasn't good enough and it’s a lack of respect for everyone who pays to come,” Karanka explained.

“It’s a lack of respect to the Middlesbrough fans who travelled, to those others who travel here, and more so to the home fans who come here regularly to watch football and want to be entertained.

“I said I was concerned with injuries and there were two, Dani Ayala and one of their players. They all have problems with their backs or legs.

“I can’t understand why a pitch like this is allowed in the Championship.”

Blackpool's pitch is shocking. Credit: PA

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Bamford: Karanka a lot like Chelsea boss Mourinho

Striker Patrick Bamford believes Aitor Karanka is similar in style to his Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

Bamford, who scored in the 2-0 win over Manchester City on Saturday, is currently working under the Basque boss at Middlesbrough, where he is on loan from Chelsea.

Karanka was formerly Mourinho's assistant at Real Madrid, before both men left the Spanish capital in 2013.

Aitor Karanka, left, and Jose Mourinho, right, worked together at Real Madrid. Credit: PA

"Training is very similar and the big thing is the desire to win. You could see that on Saturday - the passion, every detail is in there.

"He doesn't miss out a thing and he is very rigorous with his approach to every single game, whether it is Manchester City or whoever else we might play.

"Even if it was a lower-league team in the cup, it would be the same approach. It is all about winning."

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