MIDDLESBROUGH boss Aitor Karanka is grateful for the international break that has preceded this weekend’s away game at Huddersfield Town (kick off 3pm), writes CHRIS BELL.
Ten summer recruits became 13 on deadline day when striker Jelle Vossen joined from Genk, Dutchman Yanic Wildschut signed permanently from Heerenveen and goalkeeper Jamal Blackman was loaned from Chelsea following Jason Steele’s loan to Blackburn Rovers.
The break from matches has been a gift for Karanka as it has allowed him to spend productive hours on the Rockliffe Park training pitches coaching his ideologies into the new – and existing – players.
“It is the best time to work on the pitch. In the first 25 days of the season we haven’t had that time,” he told BBC Tees.
“We needed to work as we have a lot of new players.
“It has meant that we could work on our philosophies on the training pitch.
“My style is to try to win the games.
“We have to study our opponents, everything. I have to work out the best shape to win games.
“Sometimes we play with one shape, another time we play with a different shape.
“We now have players (than enables Boro) to play different shapes and I will always play the best shape and the best team.”
To say Karanka is content with his signings would be downplaying his happiness. He boasts at the additions.
“I am very happy with my squad,” he smiled.
“We have brought in players who we wanted to bring in.
“We now have the best young players on loan, a lot of players on a free, and the players we spent money on, their value - such as Kike, (Adam) Clayton and Wildschut - has increased, so we’re very happy.”
Striker Patrick Bamford could make his debut against The Terriers, Kenneth Omeruo should start and Blackman could make it a trio of Chelsea loaness in the starting eleven.
“Jamal is competing for the number one spot,” he revealed.
He is a young ‘keeper, I know him from Chelsea. I spoke to their staff who know him and they all told me about his keeping, the lad himself, his England U21 performances and how he can improve with us. He can help us a lot.”