Middlesbrough look to overtake Burnley to top Championship with win over Preston North End

Middlesbrough's Gaston Ramirez (left) celebrates scoring  with teammate Grant Leadbitter
Middlesbrough's Gaston Ramirez (left) celebrates scoring with teammate Grant Leadbitter

Middlesbrough are chasing their fourth straight win as they look to overtake Burnley and reach the summit with just seven games to go.

Boro meet Preston North End in this weekends’ Sky Bet Championship clash at the Riverside Stadium.

It’s going to be tough because Preston are playing well and they are a recently promoted team and they have a good manager

Aitor Karanka

Boro.

Aitor Karanka admits his side have a couple injury concerns albeit the majority of the squad are ready for the visit of the Lilywhites.

Karanka said: “We have the squad, they are ready and hopefully if we get injuries (in the future) they are injuries like Gibbo’s ( Ben Gibson) and Clayton’s (Adam Clayton) because I don’t think they are serious and if both of them can’t play we have others who can.”

The former Real Madrid assistant was happy with the way his side played in Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Huddersfield.

“If you look at the result at the end, you can think it was an amazing game.

“I said after the game the player who changed everything was Gaston (Ramirez) and everytime he touched the ball he was a problem for them and I am really pleased because he is improving every single day.”

“He’s one of the best, he’s a Premier League player, he’s played in World Cups,” said Karanka.

The Vitoria-born boss said his side need to hold their nerve as the Teesside club look for a return to the top flight for the first time since 2009.

“The other teams are losing points and we have won three games in a row, so we have to think about us because we have a really important game again on Saturday.

“It’s going to be tough because Preston are playing well and they are a recently promoted team and they have a good manager.

“Last season they done really well, this season they are doing really well and they are organised so they are doing really well for a reason.”

Karanka recalls the game earlier on in the season between the two sides’ and feels Middlesbrough’s style of play is the key to winning this game.

“We couldn’t beat them in the first game, so we have to be patient, we have to try and use our style and we have to try and play with our intensity and we have to score as soon as possible.”

Despite the North East side looking favourable for a Premier League return, Karanka insists he is just taking one game at a time.

“Saturday will be massive again and after we can think about Tuesday, but it is impossible to think how many points we are going to need,” He told the club website.