Aitor Karanka has more than just Middlesbrough’s visit to Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow on his mind.
Winger Albert Adomah, integral in last season’s team that reached the Championship play-off final, has reportedly handed in a transfer request.
I can’t imagine that Albert has presented a transfer request.
Rumours are circulating that he had a disagreement with Karanka last weekend.
Karanka dismissed the Ghanaian’s request, saying he ‘can’t imagine that Albert has presented a transfer request’.
The midfielder was left out of the midweek Capital One Cup win at Burton Albion, initially fuelling the speculation, but Karanka added that he has ‘said many times how important he is for the team’.
That 2-1 extra-time win against Burton, coupled with Boro’s slow start to the league, has caused a degree of scepticism amongst the Teesside faithful, but Karanka is keen to point out that the season is just four league two cup matches old.
“Some say we beat a League One team after 120 minutes but I was really pleased with the attitude and performance because it was a difficult game,” he said.
“It showed we are a team and we fight together. It’s about the intensity and the attitude.
“It’s not an excuse because I don’t like excuses … but we haven’t been able to train on the pitch in the way we like to train because we haven’t had the time.
“Players like (Diego) Fabbrini, many players only arrived when the season had started.
“It’s true I wanted to win more games (than they have done) but we couldn’t.
“We have a better squad than we did last season.
“If we win on Saturday it’s perfect. If we lose then we have to work after Saturday.”
Boro’s form against Owls has been indifferent recently, having failed to beat them in five matches and losing both times Karanka has managed at Hillsborough.
“Our last two seasons there (have not been good) and at home last season (3-2 loss) it was the worst we’ve played at home,” he reflected to BBC Tees.
“We have to learn and we go there thinking of how we are going to change to how we played their last season and the season before.
“We are going to try to win the game.”
He issued another plea for calm: “We can lose the game but if we lose it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get promotion or not going to get the players. We are in August.”