Karanka: Middlesbrough must keep it going against Nottingham Forest

SAFE PAIR OF HANDS: Dimi Konstantopoulos
SAFE PAIR OF HANDS: Dimi Konstantopoulos

AITOR Karanka has called on his Middlesbrough side to continue with the same intensity shown in their return to winning ways.

Boro, 2-0 winners over Ipswich at the weekend, are at home again tonight as they take on play-off chasing Nottingham Forest at the Riverside (kick-off 7.45pm).

Middlesbrough finally ended their 12 hour, 14 minute goal drought at the weekend thanks to two Danny Graham goals.

The on-loan Sunderland striker proved the difference between the mid-table sides as Boro moved up to 13th in the Championship table.

“We need to keep playing in the same way,” Karanka said.

“We need to maintain the same intensity that we’ve had in the last few games.”

While goal-shy Boro ended their record-breaking run in front of goal, Graham broke a duck of his own, hitting the net for the first time this year and his first for Middlesbrough since his first spell in 2005.

“He deserves it. He’s been working very hard in training and now he should be more confident going into the rest of the season,” said Karanka.

“Once a striker starts scoring goals, it’s the best medicine for confidence.”

One visible improvement since Karanka took charge has been the defensive solidity, particularly at the Riverside.

Boro have only conceded once at home since the Spaniard took the reins and haven’t conceded a goal in open play in seven games.

“When I first came in, we kept conceding from set-pieces and it was down to a lack of concentration,” added the boss.

“Now the players have improved their concentration and we have stopped conceding goals.”

While Boro are nine points short of the play-offs, Billy Davies’ Forest side are well in the mix for a spot in the top six, and have been all season.

However, they have lost three on the bounce, to Burnley, Wigan Athletic and Barnsley, and have never won at the Riverside.

Despite this, Karanka is still wary of the opposition.

“Nottingham Forest are a very good team, they have been near the top for most of the season and it is wrong to think we have an easy game,” he told BBC Tees.

Karanka is expected to play the same XI as he did against Ipswich.

Former Hartlepool United stopper Dimi Konstantopoulos should remain between the posts after a solid display, while Saturday’s star man Mustapha Carayol should be fit enough for the game despite picking up a slight hip injury.

Albert Adomah may return to the squad after sitting out Saturday’s game due to tactical reasons.

The Ghanaian international has only started five games since the beginning of 2014 and he is yet to register a goal this calendar year.