Arsenal defender Calum Chambers set for Middlesbrough debut v Crystal Palace
Aitor Karanka could hand a Middlesbrough debut to Calum Chambers for tomorrow's Premier League home match against Crystal Palace (kick-off 3pm).
The 21-year-old moved to Boro on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal just before the transfer window closed.
Surplus to requirements at the Emirates he may have been, Karanka was thrilled to get the versatile England defender.
The head coach said: “Sometimes in the market, you can find bargains.
“We were waiting until the end because the squad was almost complete and we were waiting for the right player.
“Calum ticks all the boxes – he can play in different positions, he’s a really good player, he’s a good kid.
“It was really important for us to get him, I hope he’s involved this weekend.”
Karanka says he will be looking to send Chambers back to Arsenal a better player.
“I hope so,” said the Spaniard. “I always try to get the best out of every single player.
“He has come here to help us. I brought him here to help him because at the end of the season, the main thing is that we can stay in the Premier League and Calum can go back to Arsenal as a better player.”
Three points tomorrow against Crystal Palace will aid Boro in their journey towards the magic 40 mark.
A victory tomorrow will keep Boro sixth and would represent a very good start to the season.
The Riverside has proven a fortress for Boro under Karanka but he is well aware that the Eagles will be hard opponents, despite having yet to register a victory.
Alan Pardew has splashed the cash for Christian Benteke while he also added ex-Spurs winger Andros Townsend from former club Newcastle.
“Home games are always very important if you are going to build something,” said Karanka.
“Since I came here the numbers are good, but we do know that this season that ever single game is going to be tough.
“Crystal Palace did not start the season well but they are an experienced side with a good manager.
“They have really good players, amazing strikers in their squad.
“But we have to focus on ourselves and play in our style.”
Karanka is boosted by the return to fitness of stand-in skipper George Friend, Marten de Roon and Victor Valdes.
Friend has been out following coming off in Boro’s EFL Cup exit at Fulham last month, while Marten de Roon and Victor Valdes have not featured since that opening day fixture against Stoke City.
“I have 24 players to choose from, it’s a nice headache to have as a manager,” smiled Karanka. “All have trained really well, I’m very pleased.”
The head coach hopes Uruguay stars Cristhian Stuani and Gaston Ramirez will be available after the pair represented their country in Montevideo on Wednesday in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay.
“Gaston played almost a full game and Cristhian the last 20 minutes,” Karanka said. “I will check how the players are when they arrive, if they need rest, because it is not easy sometimes.
“But the main thing is that both of them are not injured.”