Aitor Karanka takes his side to Pride Park tonight to face a Derby County side managed by former Boro manager Steve McClaren. The Rams moved into 5th place and the play off positions after their weekend win over Wigan. They’ve lost only once since McClaren took over in September, and that was to joint league leaders QPR.
Boro’s new style is still a work in progress having played only two games since Karanka took charge. The three points they picked up against Bolton on Saturday moved them up the table from 19th to 15th.
Boro will take heart from the fact Derby haven’t managed a clean sheet in any of their last 25 league meetings, they’ve shipped 49 goals in total. But Derby took the spoils in this fixture last season with a comprehensive 3-1 victory.
Tonight’s game will see Karanka squaring up to Middlesbrough’s most successful ever manger, McClaren won the Carling Cup and reached the UEFA Cup final in his time on Teeside. Karanka admitted this week what McClaren managed to achieve in his five years in charge does put some pressure on him but also shows what the club is capable of. McClaren’s tenure at Derby so far has been plain sailing, they’ve conceded just once in their last three games, all of which they won.
Derby are proof that a team with a new man at the helm and a good run of form are capable of moving quickly up the Championship. Boro’s new regime will be looking to emulate their example with a win this evening.